President Obama wants to regulate unrestricted access to weapons. The country is faced with the next culture war, like the one between left and right, and between city and land dwellers.
More weapons were sold in the USA last December than in any other month in the last two decades. While many media and Democrats repeatedly demand restricted access to weapons after each massacre like the one in San Bernardino, citizens stock up on them after every incident in order to protect themselves, and because they fear it might become more difficult to get them legally in the future.
It is exactly this contradiction that is at the center of the weapons debate in the USA. What seems logical at a societal level — fewer weapons mean fewer Americans killed — greatly differs from the point of view of individual citizens.
They do not want to be defenseless in the (unlikely) event of being confronted with a mass murder or a criminal.
Cultural Revolution Is Needed
Barack Obama knows he cannot resolve this contradiction, especially since the right to bear arms is firmly anchored in the Constitution, and the Republican majority in Congress will not make access to weapons more difficult. That is why the president has tightened the few screws that are legally available to him. He has further extended the duty of inspecting weapons dealers. And the FBI is supposed to be much more efficient with checking buyers.
However, this will hardly make an impact on the high numbers of people who are murdered in the USA. The massive amount of weapons in the country will only be reduced if there is a similar cultural revolution to the one concerning gay marriage in the last decade. And it does not look like that is going to happen any time soon.
However, the gun lobby has given rise to an anti-gun lobby, which has means just as sumptuous and is supported by multibillionaire and former Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg. A new culture war is announcing itself in an America polarized between left and right, between city and land dwellers.