President Obama's New Year's Resolution? To Finally Make Progress On Gun Control Reforms
Do you have a New Year's resolution? Not everyone likes them, sure ― why put off till January what you can start in July? ― but there's no denying that they're a reliable, familiar part of our cultural landscape. So much so, in fact, that no less than the president divulged his own resolution on Friday, although it was firmly fixed in the world of politics: President Obama's New Year's resolution is on gun control, likely by way of a hotly anticipated executive order.
He introduced it in his weekly address to the nation, which went up on YouTube Friday morning. After running down some of the achievements from his first seven years as president ― advancing international progress on climate change, the economic recovery, and the march of marriage equality as prime examples ― he introduced what might be the last big push of his waning time in office:
So my New Year's resolution is to move forward with our unfinished business ... that's especially true for one piece of unfinished business: our epidemic of gun violence. Last month, we remembered the third anniversary of Newtown. This Friday, I'll be thinking about my friend Gabby Giffords, five years into her recovery from the shooting in Tucson.
And all across America, survivors of gun violence, and those who lost a child, or a parent, or a spouse to gun violence are forced to mark such awful anniversaries every single day. And yet, Congress still hasn't done anything to prevent what happened to them from happening to other families. Three years ago, a bipartisan, common-sense bill would've required background checks for virtually everyone who buys a gun. Keep in mind, this is a policy that is supported by some 90 percent of the American people. It was supported by a majority of NRA households.
But the gun lobby mobilized against it, and the Senate blocked it. Since then, tens of thousands of our fellow Americans have been mowed down by gun violence, tens of thousands. Each time, we're told that common-sense reforms like background checks might not have stopped the last massacre, or the one before that, so we shouldn't do anything. We know we can't stop every act of violence, but what if we tried to stop even one? What if Congress did something, anything to protect our kids from gun violence? A few months ago, I directed my team at the White House to look into any new actions I can take to help reduce gun violence. And on Monday, I'll meet with our attorney general, Loretta Lynch, to discuss our options.
This doesn't come as an enormous surprise. The political press had been reporting the possibility of an executive order on guns in the final days of 2015, and from the sounds of things, the reports were accurate. Of course, executive actions can be controversial, and the political right will surely decry any unilateral effort Obama makes on gun reform ― the right to bear arms is, after all, a constitutionally protected right, however much that frustrates and complicates vital, sensible policies.
Whatever the executive order ends up containing, we shouldn't have to wait much longer to find out. According to CNN, it's expected to be made public in advance of Obama's Jan. 12 State of the Union address.