Obama Rallies Against Lack of Common Sense in American Gun Control Laws

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President Obama recently acknowledged that his failure to pass common sense gun control laws in the U.S. has been his greatest frustration in his presidency. In a Thursday interview with BBC, President Obama claimed that it was distressing not to have made progress on the issue, even in the face of repeated mass killings.

His comments came hours before another mass shooting took place in Lafayette, Louisiana Thursday night. John Houser killed two people and wounded nine others at the Lafayette multiplex Thursday night before he turned his gun on himself and took his own life, police said.

However Obama signaled that he would continue to work on gun laws during his remaining time in the White House. He stated: 

It is the fact that the United States of America is the one advanced nation on earth in which we do not have sufficient common-sense, gun-safety laws. Even in the face of repeated mass killings.

If you look at the number of Americans killed since 9/11 by terrorism, it’s less than 100. If you look at the number been killed by gun violence, it’s in the tens of thousands. And for us not to be able to resolve that issue has been something that is distressing. But it is not something that I intend to stop working on in the remaining 18 months.

Nationally, guns kill 33,000 Americans and injure 80,000 a year. The total cost of gun violence is $229 billion a year, almost as much as we spend on Medicaid. The Harvard Injury Control Research Center recently found that there’s a substantial evidence that indicates more guns means more murders. But despite the high levels of gun violence, Congress has no plans to investigate a solution.

In regard to gun control laws in the United States, Louisiana has some of the weakest gun laws in the nation. It does not require gun dealers to obtain a state license. The state also has no laws that restrict assault weapons or .50 caliber rifles.

One week after the shooting at Charleston’s Emmanuel AME Church, the House Appropriations Committee voted 32-19 against an amendment that would reverse a 19-year-old ban on funding for the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to research the causes of gun violence in public health. Their reasoning is that gun violence is not a disease, and therefore does not fall under the CDC’s research domain.

The CDC had been conducting research into gun violence as a “public health phenomenon” and began publishing studies that indicated a strong correlation between the presence of guns and firearm-related deaths. Prior this, the CDC’s budget was cut in 1996 by $2.6 million, the exact amount they had spent on researching gun facilities in 1995. As a result of that cut, many scientists stopped doing gun research, and the number of publications on firearm violence decreased dramatically. Reuters has reported that government research into gun mortality has shrunk by 96 percent since the NRA’s campaign in the 1990s.

Although Obama has claimed that he will work to address gun violence in the United States during his remaining time as president, it is unclear how he will go about endorsing these big changes without the support of Congress. That being said, last week’s events show that some sort of common sense change is clearly necessary.

Angel Idowu
Angel Idowu is a member of the Beloit College Class of 2016 and was a Law Street Media Fellow for the Summer of 2015. Contact Angel at



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