At a CNN town hall on gun violence, President Obama fielded a question from Taya Kyle, widow of famed U.S. soldier Chris Kyle. Kyle pointed out that gun control laws won’t stop certain gun-related tragedies from taking place — a common argument against Obama’s gun control push. The president agreed with her assertion, but then explained why stricter gun regulations are nevertheless worth pursuing.
“The laws that we create don’t stop these horrific things from happening, right?" Kyle asked. "And that’s a very tough pill to swallow.”
Obama nodded at this, and also agreed that murder rates in America are, in totality, on the decline, and that this isn't pointed out frequently enough. But then the president insisted that, despite these facts, his push for gun control is necessary. "In the same way that we don’t eliminate all the traffic accidents but, over the course of 20 years traffic accidents get lower," Obama said, "over time, [gun] violence gets reduced, and so families are spared." This question, or variants of it, came up several times during the town hall. Obama made a similar point when an attendee asked if his new policies would have specifically prevented any of the recent mass shootings.
"Crime is always gonna be with us, so I think it’s important for us not to suggest that if we can’t solve every crime, we can’t solve any crimes," Obama said to applause.
That's long been the president's justification for stronger gun laws — specifically, strengthening federal background checks. They won't prevent every tragedy, but they may prevent one, and they don't impose any undue burden on law-abiding citizens. For the people whose lives are saved — even if it's only a few people — that alone makes the policy worth it.