Obama's Second Term: Can He Break the Cycle of Violence?

The incident that happened on Friday Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut has reactivated the U.S. debate about the necessity of passing gun control laws. The shooter, as in the majority of the cases, committed suicide, but the weapons were from his home and the gun license was in his mother’s name.

After his visit to this quiet northeastern town, which in the last decade only recorded one murder, U.S. President Barack Obama promised on Sunday Dec. 16—without saying the word weapon— that his office would act immediately to avoid similar tragedies. However the White House still has not offered any specific details about a plan. Any plan would be difficult to implement in the current U.S. political climate.

Bearing arms is a right that many Americans support and is also protected in the Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

In a sleazy homage to the 221st anniversary of the Second Amendment, which was ratified on December 15, 1791, Adam Lanza grabbed hold of his Bushmaster .223 and two handguns, all registered in his mother’s name. Adam Lanza first killed his mother and then went to the school where she worked and opened fire on dozens of innocent, defenseless children. 20 children died. The main weapon used by Lanza during his murderous rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School is the civil version of the famous assault M-16 weapon used by the United States’ army since the Vietnam War. This gun can be brought legally in almost any part of the country.

Hours before President Obama’s announcement, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein stated that when Congress begins their session in January, she will present a draft for a law that prohibits the purchase of assault weapons. Independent Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman asked that we do not lose sight of what is important.

On the opposing side, the Democratic law maker from West Virginia Joe Manchin, a strong defender of the Second Amendment, stated on the Monday after the shooting that there must be a sensible and reasonable debate concerning weapons control. In response to the lawmakers’ statements, there have been petitions and demonstrations from the public. Three days after the shooting, almost 160,000 people signed a petition on the White House web site calling for increased control in the circulation of weapons in the country.

Almost 31,600 Americans want the most strict gun control laws while more than 23,000 want firmer control. The law that was signed by Bill Clinton in 1994, which prohibited the possession of assault rifles, expired in 2004 and has not been renewed. With no elections in sight, Obama is soon to be inaugurated for his second term. President Obama can therefore break the cycle of violence in U.S. schools and make good of his Nobel Peace Prize.

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