Opinion: U.S. can’t afford further political inaction

Lucas Misera

The nation should be proud of you, President Obama, for once again remaining poised after a mass shooting gripped the United States.

In the aftermath of the tragedy at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, you reiterated that we need to take a political stance on violence in the United States, delivering an emotionally charged monologue powerful enough to turn heads in the media.

Of course, your Republican counterparts aren’t as impressed.

Conservative politicians are frustrated by the President’s call to “politicize” the shooting, and even folks in Oregon are disappointed in his latest call for gun control. Let me be blunt for a second: It absolutely needs to be politicized. Whether Americans think guns, mental illness or our culture is to blame, it should be evident that something anything— needs done. At this point, pushing legislation isn’t a knee-jerk reaction. In fact, inaction is becoming increasingly more appalling. The irony of the GOP growing frustrated with President Obama for politicizing gun control is dumbfounding.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the National Rifle Association spent over $3 million on lobbying in 2014. Gun control was political long before President Obama took over the presidency in 2008. Unfortunately, discussing compromise on gun control would be political suicide for many Republican incumbents, so yes — it is political.

Why is it that America is so emotionally attached to its guns that legislators can’t find a way to alleviate violence in the United States?

According to Gallup Polls, a majority of Americans back stricter gun control laws. As President Obama alluded to in his speech, less than half of Americans own guns and nearly half of the country is in favor of stricter gun control laws. So on that front, the president is right.

While gun control does stem from America’s disturbing violent tendencies, it is undoubtedly out of control. There are nearly as many guns in the United States as there are people. However, in the Gallup Poll referenced earlier, only 42 percent of respondents said that they own a gun. Such a large number of weapons is concentrated amongst such a relatively small amount of people, yet President Obama struggles to push his agenda.

This leads back to the NRA. Gun control is political and it isn’t by President Obama’s choice. Even if it was, it’s time to really start pushing the issue; President Obama isn’t fighting for another election, so he can afford to prioritize gun control.

The GOP needs to address the issue at hand. Instead of the finger-pointing that has become all too familiar under this Congress, the Republican Party needs to justify its immovable stance on the matter. The United States is facing a growing concern, and it can’t be left unchecked.

Contact Lucas Misera at [email protected].