Raise your glasses, and perhaps your firearms—the president may be leading us down a road suspiciously similar to Prohibition.
On Jan. 16, President Obama urged Congress to pass upcoming legislation that would moderate the use of firearms.
If Congress passes the proposed legislation, it will mean three things for all Americans: military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines will be banned, background checks will become more extensive and gun-trafficking laws will be increasingly tighter.
While many analysts are skeptical of Congress actually passing the aforementioned legislation, Obama has signed 23 executive orders designed to immediately curb gun violence.
Among other things, the executive orders help close the loopholes for background checks mandating that information be more accessible.
Additionally, law enforcement officers will be required to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
There’s no denying that stricter gun laws could prevent a year reminiscent of 2012, one filled with empty shot gun shells and tear-stained faces.
But is history doomed to repeat itself?
During the roaring 20s, Americans weren’t facing potentially tighter gun legislation, but rather the increasing presence of alcohol.
With the number of intoxicated citizens rising, the government sought to limit the consumption and manufacturing of the beverage.
Eventually, moderation became a thing of the past, and the government sought to ban the drink entirely. Hello, 18th Amendment and goodbye troubles. Or, so they thought.
Alcohol could still be found by those who knew where to look for it—in the hands of organized crime.
Suddenly, the criminals were in control, and the laws themselves became a mockery of sobriety.
By 1933, the 21st Amendment was ratified, repealing the 18th Amendment. Drinks all around.
Even now, nearly a month after the most recent tragedy that is still tender in the hearts of this great nation, the rebellion is starting.
While the pacifier of promised legislation may be enough to subdue some, it has put many on the defense.
CNN reported the reaction of several gun-owners who felt the new legislation would be a denial of their rights.
James Yeager, CEO of Tactical Response, a gun training and accessory company, posted a now-viral video urging his fellow patriots to be ready for a fight should the President’s administration ban firearms.
“I am not letting my country be ruled by a dictator. I’m not letting anybody take my guns. If it goes one inch further, I’m gonna start killing people.”
Though Yeager later apologized for his angry outburst, this reaction illustrates the counterproductive nature of what the Obama administration is trying to do.
Clearly, the issue of greater gun control is not the answer. Instead of inciting a nation into a potentially nation-wide stand-off, we should focus our energy and resources on what seems to have been the crux of the last several tragedies—mental health.
Luckily, Obama’s executive orders include a proposed $300 million in increased mental health services such as $50 million to train new mental health professionals, $25 million for treatment for adults ages 16 to 25 with mental health and other substance abuse issues and $15 million for training for teachers to recognize mental health issues in their students.
It seems like Obamacare may save the day after all.
And that is where our focus must lie—on finding a way to help the sick rather than curtail the rights of the average citizen.
By pooling our energy and resources together to improve mental health services, we can potentially alleviate an amendment that could repeal our right to defend.
Dissenting Opinion: Even First Amendment includes regulations
Let’s be very clear; we do not believe in abolishing the right to bear arms.
Nor do we believe for a moment that President Obama and his Cabinet intend to go down that path.
Using Prohibition as an example to scare people into fighting against the recently passed executive orders and the proposed gun control laws is manipulative at its core and puts forth a highly unlikely hypothetical situation.
Even the First Amendment to the Constitution, the right of freedom of speech, has certain regulations to protect citizens from slander, libel and to protect our troops from potentially sensitive information being leaked.
If the First Amendment has rules about what the freedom of speech allows, then so should the right to bear arms.
Having said that, firearms are not the core issue behind the multiple shootings.
Gun control is merely treating symptoms of a bigger problem, but until we can find a cure for the yet undiagnosed sickness infesting our nation, all we can do is treat the symptoms.