“We’re the only advanced nation on earth that sees this kind of mass violence with this frequency,” President Barack Obama echoes a line from Tuesday’s tearful address on gun control (Jan. 8). Days after announcing his executive action against violence, he calls upon his roles as a father and citizen instead, in his letter penned to the New York Times—admitting the necessary amount of gun reform “won’t happen during my presidency.”
The key is to change ties into the consumer-manufacturer relationship within the gun industry, says Obama. To him, the consumer is any American citizen and democracy is a result of citizens’ organization and mobilization around national issues. Just as Americans lobby for tougher safety restrictions on products such as food and cars, arms should receive the same treatment.
He writes, “If a child can’t open a bottle of aspirin, we should also make sure she can’t pull the trigger of a gun.” Even-more-so, Obama points out how important voting will be in bringing about such a reform. Come November, Americans have the duty to elect the nation’s next leaders, taking into account whose policies come nearest to ending gun violence. Stepping down from his two-term presidency, Obama refuses to support any candidate unwilling to reform the crisis and plans to cast his vote alongside other citizens. He hopes gun owners too will show up to the polls to advocate against the mass violence.
The president reserves some of his word count to criticize the gun industry, particularly its interactions with his administration. He wants the industry to be held accountable for their role in the violence and blames capitalism for its demise. Obama notes the lack of cooperation manufacturers have had in legal disputes, crimes, and public health research. In addition to the stricter guidelines regarding buyers aforementioned at his address, he demands better tracking systems for arms and bullets.
Both consumers and manufacturers contribute to the future outcome guns will have on our lives. And Obama says a collaborative effort as a nation is the only way towards complete reform, “There are steps we can take now to save lives. And all of us—at every level of government, in the private sector and as citizens—have to do our part.”