As Americans, we hold consumer goods to high standards to keep our families and communities safe. Cars have to meet safety and emissions requirements. Food has to be clean and safe. We will not end the cycle of gun violence until we demand that the gun industry take simple actions to make its products safer as well. If a child can’t open a bottle of aspirin, we should also make sure she can’t pull the trigger of a gun.
My problem with this is that it’s not radical enough. He compares cars, food, and medicine to guns. These things can be dangerous. And we’ve certainly made them less dangerous over time. But their danger is secondary to their nature. Cars are made to transport; food to nourish; and medicine to heal. Guns are made to kill. Their danger is inherent to their nature.
Only good can come from regulating guns and making them safer. I’m not going to campaign against any form of gun control because I’ll pretty much take what I can get. But I don’t think gun ownership should be allowed at all. If the only purpose of a thing is to take life, why should I have the right to own it?
Obama finishes with this:
Change will be hard. It won’t happen overnight. But securing a woman’s right to vote didn’t happen overnight. The liberation of African-Americans didn’t happen overnight. Advancing the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans has taken decades’ worth of work.
Those moments represent American democracy, and the American people, at our best. Meeting this crisis of gun violence will require the same relentless focus, over many years, at every level. If we can meet this moment with that same audacity, we will achieve the change we seek. And we will leave a stronger, safer country to our children.
He’s right that gun control can and should turn into one of the major societal advancements that our country has made. Americans a hundred years from now should look back on us as barbarian for allowing this gun violence in the same way we look back on white slavers.