President Barack Obama campaigned on a promise of hope and change; on a departure from failed policies of the past. His inauguration speech continued in this spirit, promising an effective and responsive government. There is a particular passage from that speech that I hope he pays particular attention to, especially insofar as gun control is concerned:
The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. Those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.
In the above quote, Obama promises to continue effective governmental programs, and end those which are wasteful. It is true that he puts particular focus on wages, health care, and retirement for individuals, however the overarching message appears to be that the government should not continue to pursue policies that have been demonstrated ineffective, and at the same time should continue those programs which are successful.
Applying that promise to the situation of gun rights and gun control, it would appear that President Obama needs to reconsider his gun control plans:
Obama supported a ban on handguns, despite the fact that handgun bans have been conclusively proven ineffective at stopping criminals from having a gun, or using it to commit a crime. This is true across the US, as well as in countries that have banned handguns at the national level. Handgun bans are the epitome of a failed governmental policy, and exactly the type of program that Obama’s promise would logically seem to mandate be abandoned.
Obama is on record opposing concealed carry, and supporting a federal law that would ban concealed carry in every state. Across the country, states that allow concealed carry enjoy low crime rates, and their citizens are able to effectively defend themselves against criminals, rather than being defenseless victims. On the other hand, crime rates in states that ban concealed carry and otherwise heavily restrict gun ownership are much higher. Concealed carry works, and under the promises in Obama’s speech, should be supported and continued.
Obama supports mandatory waiting periods for those who wish to lawfully purchase guns. Such waiting periods have been shown to be ineffective at preventing crime. This is likely because criminals don’t buy their guns legally anyway, and illegally buying on the black market allows those criminals to bypass background checks, waiting periods, etc. Instead, waiting periods only ensure that law abiding citizens who fear for their safety from an abusive stalker or other criminal must wait in fear, while their attacker is likely armed already with an illegal gun. Once again, we have an ineffective governmental policy that not only fails to accomplish its supposed goal, but also harms the very people it is intended to protect. Under Obama’s promise, it would seem that gun waiting periods should be abolished as well.