It’s January of 2016, which means President Obama is getting ready to deliver his final State of the Union address. He’s planning on making gun violence one of the central issues of his last year in office, and this year’s SOTU will focus on that. To illustrate just how bad the problem is, the President and the First Lady have something planned for the visitors’ seats up in the gallery.
No, they aren’t going to shoot anyone. They aren’t going to have any gun owners arrested up there. They won’t even symbolically confiscate anyone’s guns to drive home a point. There will be an empty seat up there, as a reminder of all the lives lost to U.S. gun violence.
Obama recently announced executive action designed to clarify existing laws regarding who’s a gun dealer under the law, helping to close the gun show loophole in our background checks. He’s also working on ways of better identifying people who might be too mentally unstable to be safe with a gun, among other actions.
The president even hosted a town hall on the plague of gun violence that’s ripping the nation to shreds, and actually managed to bring critics and supporters of gun control into a reasoned discussion, proving that he can, in fact, lead on this issue. Some of the critics from whom he took questions included a rape survivor, a sheriff, an executive for a gun manufacturer, and a Taya Kyle, the widow of “American Sniper” and liar Chris Kyle.
Ms. Kyle said that new gun laws will only punish crime victims, which is a ridiculous, but popular, position for the “moar gunz” crowd to take. She also said that since it won’t stop anything from happening, stronger background checks is a bad idea. That, too, is a ridiculous position to take, but it’s likewise a popular one.
Obama pleaded with everyone to come together on the problem, something that the NRA won’t let Republicans do at all. Thankfully, the NRA wasn’t at the town hall to screw things up.
The empty chair is a poignant way of reminding the so-called “gun rights” movement that real people die because of guns, and there’s zero justification for claiming that as the price of freedom. The mantra “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” is a pleasant fiction, but the fact of the matter is that a person has a much easier time killing people when they have a gun. Will Republicans and the NRA notice?
Featured image by Pete Souza. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons