"The United States of America is not the only country on Earth with violent or dangerous people..We are not inherently more prone to violence — but we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency." - President Obama announcing executive action on gun control in America
Finally, finally, finally.
The executive actions announced by Obama at the White House on Tuesday promise to start a new era of rationality when it comes to America's rampant gun murder epidemic. Symbolically joined by America's most prominent gun crime victim in recent memory -- former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was shot in the head in Tucson five years ago -- Obama told the audience that the new action is designed to curb violence in a number of different ways. Reported Mic.com:
The most important initiative is the administration's attempt at closing the notorious "gun show loophole": a gap in current law that allows guns to be purchased from private vendors at gun shows and online without the purchaser being subjected to a background check.
"It doesn't matter where you conduct your business: from a store, at gun shows or over the internet. If you're in the business of selling firearms, you must get a license and conduct background checks," the White House said in a statement emailed Monday night, outlining the policy.
The executive actions also call for a $500 million investment to improve access to mental health services, as well as changes to bureaucratic rules that impede the ability of the current national background check system to tap into databases that track people who are banned from obtaining firearms for specific mental health reasons.
Moreover, the White House announced additional funding for enforcing gun laws through the the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The FBI will also be overhauling the background check system to make it more efficient and hiring more than 200 new examiners and staff to help manage that process.
Here is Obama's speech in full:
Will these executive actions stop the relentless death toll? No. Far more is needed in order to make a serious dent in the 12,000 odd gun deaths a year, but it is a start, and lives will almost certainly be saved. Bravo, Obama -- what a way to start 2016.