Dr E Faye Williams1

Dr. E. Faye Williams

Trice Edney—In the last ten years, we have had tragedies resulting in more than 100,000 Americans dying as a result of gun violence.  Some in Congress have such little regard for life that they have chosen not to act to stop this violence.  They sit back and criticize and act as though the NRA is God.  The murder of college and high school students didn’t move them. All the babies killed at Sandy Hook didn’t merit a thought about how to prevent such violence.  Many of us have pulled for President Obama to take executive action as a start for making a difference.  

Listening to Senator Ted Cruz and others argue about the process— which isn’t the real reason they oppose what President Obama is doing– instead of working on laws that could make a difference, I thought about the insanity to doing nothing to fix a problem that so badly needs fixing, that you’d rather oppose anything President Obama does.

In the refusal of Congress to act on the issue, President Barack Obama did what a leader is expected to do. He issued a few sensible Executive Orders to clarify the terms under which Americans may exercise 2nd Amendment rights to own guns. He did nothing to stop the law abiding from owning guns.  

I am a survivor of gun violence, so I take allowing everybody –the stable and the unstable—the right to own guns.  Ask a woman whose spouse has used a gun to exercise control over her.  Ask a mother who has lost a child.  Ask a family member who has a disturbed family member in the home if they have a problem with the action the President just took.  I don’t think you will find any measure of disagreement that something must be done to stop the violence.

Have you ever noticed how these gun zealots can so aggressively define and fight for their Constitutional right to own guns–as many as they want and from whatever source they wish to come by them—without restrictions as simple as having a background check or registering a gun?  I don’t get it.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if these gun zealots could count past 2 (as in 2nd Amendment)!  They are selective in which Amendments and which laws they support. They never fight this furiously for the 13th, 14th, 15th or 19th Amendments to the Constitution. One would think these gung-ho 2nd Amendment rights supporters would support all Amendments and laws of the land–such as Voting Rights, LGBT Rights, Women’s Rights, etc.  Many draw the line when it comes to what improves the quality of life for millions of citizens who happen to be Black, Latino, Native American or people with disabilities, the poor and members of the LGBT communities. Perhaps I could be sympathetic to gun owners’ rights if they supported my rights as a Black person or as a woman, but with few exceptions, gun enthusiasts tend not to believe in the parts of the Constitution that most impact me.

It’s a bit confusing when people like Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama wants everybody to have guns, but when asked if that includes visitors going into the US Capitol where he works, he draws a line.  “No, not in the Gallery,” he says!  I guess his life is too precious to risk just anybody having a clear shot at him!

The only things President Obama said in his orders were: to require background checks for sellers and buyers, enforce laws, increase funding on mental health care, make background checks more effective and hire more ATF staff. No sensible person should disagree with that. What he said still allows any law abiding citizen to purchase guns.

(Dr. E. Faye Williams can be reached at:  www.nationalcongressbw.org, or at:  202/678-6788)