A shocking incident occurred at an Arizona shooting range last August when a nine-year-old girl was trying to operate an Uzi submachine gun under her shooting instructor’s tutelage. It is suspected that the girl lost control of the gun on account of the recoil; as a result, the instructor was accidentally shot in the head and died. In the eyes of gun rights activists, the seriousness of this incident is no more severe than a novice driver accidentally injuring a pedestrian.
A good many American media outlets have described 2013 as the “least productive” year in the history of Congress. To gun rights fanatics, 2013 was absolutely the year with the gloomiest outlook for the cause. The shooting that took place that year at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, involved 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who, after shooting his own mother dead, then stormed onto a school campus, killing 20 young students and six faculty members. Lanza ultimately died by a self-inflicted bullet to the head from his own Glock.
American gun fanatics often defend gun rights by citing the Second Amendment, emphasizing that people have the right to bear arms. However, who was there to defend the rights of the innocent children who died from gunshot wounds in Newtown, Connecticut? For Obama, who has always been supportive of gun control, it was an opportune time to attack by initiating new legislature, intensifying background checks on arms sales and banning the sale of attack weapons and large-capacity magazines.
Gun rights fanatics in the U.S. have softened their position away from the assertion that the right to bear arms is the best method to combat gun violence. In a Democrat-controlled Senate, Democrats from Republican-controlled states have begun to exercise more prudence, putting safety before matters of principle, while gun owners and the NRA feared that Obama’s ascension to the White House would mean stricter gun-control measures. In the April 2013 session of Congress, Obama’s measures were overturned. On the eve of the close of the 2013 legislative year, Congress and the House passed a bill to extend the 25-year ban on plastic weapons. Meanwhile, gun control supporters suspected that they had not collected enough funds, as Democratic Senator Charles Schumer’s proposed gun-control amendment was rejected.
Plastic firearms that contain trace amounts of metallic substances can easily pass through metal detectors and X-ray machines at airport and campus security checkpoints. Three-dimensional printer technology has thrown open the floodgates, as now anyone in society can download gun blueprints onto his or her home computer and print a firearm. The torrential rush of homemade plastic guns is now considered a major security risk.
Changing the Status Quo in the Remainder of the Term Will Be Difficult
Schumer’s proposal would amend existing gun-control bans and regulate guns with plastic components, stipulating that core operating components must contain a sufficient amount of a metallic substance to allow detection by security systems. This would prevent the removal of metallic materials (in plastic firearms), preventing individuals from slipping through the cracks and exploiting existing loopholes in the security system. For example, upon encountering a law enforcement officer, bullets and other metallic components can be hidden or removed and switched out with other parts. Though Schumer’s proposal makes a lot of sense, it has still not been given the green light by Congress.
At an earlier shooting in South Carolina, at the very birthplace of affirmative action, an attack on an African-American-led church left Pastor Ed Pickney — a gun control advocate who had met Obama personally — dead at the scene along with other worshipers. Obama appeared impassioned as he exclaimed that it’s time to use “our power” to change the status quo. Obama has repeatedly used his presidential privilege to bypass Congress and push for reform, which reflects back on Obama himself. If he continues trying to single-handedly intensify gun control during the remainder of his term in office, then the chances of success will be slim to none.