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Die Tageszeitung, Germany

Obama Is Finally Leading

By Bernd Pickert

Translated By Judith Meyer

16 January 2013

Edited by Daye Lee

Germany - Die Tageszeitung - Original Article (German)

The collection of laws that the state of New York passed on Tuesday is the biggest step towards improving control of individual gun ownership in the U.S. in nearly 50 years. It also serves as the blueprint for the federal level reforms that President Barack Obama proposed on Wednesday.

Key points: banning assault weapons, which are defined as weapons that look like they are made for military use; banning magazines that hold more than seven rounds, though on the federal level Obama discussed raising the limit to ten rounds; strengthening personal background check requirements for persons purchasing weapons. Additionally, Obama has proposed better records of felons and the mentally ill as well as more police presence in schools.

Of these, which will become law? Only time will tell. Although Obama wants to do everything that he can without congressional approval, he is limited. Yet, finally, a president is showing leadership and not caving in to the weapon lobby's pressure prima facie.

All of this is good news. However, even if all of Obama's proposals become law, as he wishes, the number of gun crimes will not decrease — at least, not in the short term. The call for a ban of assault weapons is popular and supportable because nobody is able to explain why anyone would need a weapon that soldiers use in battle, if the purpose of the gun is truly just for hunting, sport or self defense.

However, of the 6,550 firearm related deaths in the U.S. in 2011, only 323 involved assault weapons — the remaining involved simple hand guns. In addition to this, there are 250 to 300 million guns already in circulation. New sales restrictions will not have much of an impact, at least not anytime soon. The path to a more peaceful United States is still a long way away.



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