We breakdown President Obama’s address asking for more gun control measures after yesterday’s tragic community college shooting in Oregon.
Yesterday President Barack Obama gave an emotional speech regarding the mass shooting tragedy that took place yesterday at a community college in Oregon. It was one of those President Obama speeches in which he took no prisoners. He had his sights set, asking for more gun control measures. Here’s our breakdown.
- If this speech had an “aesthetic” it would have been this:
- As a nation, we’re used to seeing President Obama having an unruffled disposition to most major events. Always calm and in control. Yesterday we saw a president that was clearly frustrated. The speech’s tone was one of just being tired of having to address the issue of mass shootings without having to acknowledge that the proliferation of guns in the US could a potential factor to this problem.
President Obama specifically called out his critics yesterday and said, “And, of course, what’s also routine is that somebody, somewhere will comment and say, Obama politicized this issue. Well, this is something we should politicize.” President Obama was very clear, he wants to talk about gun control. The context of this talk was even more interesting in that this was the first time President Obama openly challenged an unwritten rule among politicians; that after a mass shooting occurs, you don’t talk about gun control until a few days after the event. Last night, President Obama was having none of that.
- While not surprising, President Obama’s remarks were a direct challenge at the gun rights lobby. For many politicians, the gun rights lobby – specifically the National Rifle Association (NRA) – is such a force on Capitol Hill that many law makers avoid the issue of gun control legislation at all costs. Yet President Obama did mention the NRA, without directly mentioning the NRA when he said, “I would particularly ask America’s gun owners, who are using those guns properly, safely, to hunt, for sport, for protecting their families, to think about whether your views are properly being represented by the organization that suggests it’s speaking for you.”
- Yesterday President Obama gave a pretty emotional speech. The problem with emotional speeches, facts that are pretty opaque tend to be looked at as gospel. Last night President Obama made a lot of assumptions that generally aren’t as solid as he claimed them to be.
- President Obama said in his speech, “we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few months.” As PolitiFact talked about earlier this year, that’s not necessarily true…
Based on scholarly research from Jaclyn Schildkraut and H. Jaymi Elsass, their findings show that mass shootings are not specifically a “US thing”, because they do take place in other countries. However, the frequency of these shootings is pretty high when compared to countries like France, England, Germany, China, and Mexico. Just something to keep in mind.
- President Obama also said last night, “we know because of the polling that says the majority of Americans understand we should be changing these laws, including the majority of responsible, law-abiding gun owners.” Yeah that’s also a bit hazy…
While President Obama is correct, majority of Americans are for gun control, it’s just barely a majority. Based on recent Pew Research polling, it’s a pretty divided issue with 50% saying they favor gun control and 47% saying they favor gun rights.
- With that said, President Obama did make a few remarks that were absolutely on point. One of them being on gun laws decreasing gun violence. While some have the “absurd” – to be read as idiotic – notion that strict gun laws actually increase gun violence, all research shows the exact opposite. In states, studies like the one that the Harvard Medical School and the Boston Children’s Hospital did show that stricter gun laws in states actually led to fewer gun related deaths. Internationally speaking the trend continues to be true with countries like Japan, France and Australia having stricter gun laws than the US while having a lower homicide by firearm rate than we do. As much as gun rights activists hate to admit it, stricter gun laws do affect firearm homicides by a significant margin.
- During the speech President Obama asked the media to compare deaths by terrorist attacks vs gun violence over the last decade in the US. Well we can tell you right now the numbers for gun violence will be MUCH higher than those killed by terrorism, still outlets like CNN did their due diligence. Here’s their graph.
- The most salient point that President Obama made last night was in the area of gun violence research from the state department. Or more like the lack there of. In President Obama’s address he stated that, “we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths.”
To be frank, it’s a legitimate gripe. The most effective move by the NRA in stifling gun legislation is to stop research by federal organizations like the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the causes of gun violence. The NRA specifically uses conservative members in Congress to threaten government organizations like the CDC that if they continue to research gun violence, they’ll have their funding stripped! In turn the government organization gets so scared that in instances like the CDC, they created a self-imposed ban on gun violence research. They haven’t even broached the subject of gun violence since the mid-90’s!
They do this because when legislation comes forth regarding gun control, like closing gun show loopholes, gun rights activists and organizations like the NRA will say there is little to no research claiming that closing these loopholes would actually curb gun violence. Well of course not, because YOU’RE MAKING SURE THAT RESEARCH DOESN’T EXIST!!!
Sorry what we meant to say was.
Yeah, that’s more to the point.
Don’t trust us on our talking points from last night’s speech? Think we’re pawns of the liberal media or Roger Ailes’ cabana boy for the conservative Illuminati?! Well my paranoid friend, you can see the speech for yourself below.
(Photo Credit: WhiteHouse.gov, CNN, Google Images)