Editorial: Action needs to follow Obama’s gun speech

Editorial Board

2015 was filled with gunshots. Mass shooting after mass shooting we watched as Americans stood by contributing to the argument of gun control without getting anything done. Saying that next time we we will have taken enough action to prevent more innocent people from suffering from a bullet due to lax gun laws.

On Jan. 5, President Obama gave an emotional speech to call the nation to “urgency” when it comes to fighting gun violence. In addition to pushing for expansion when it comes to background checks, Obama also talked about expanding mental health treatment.

While this speech was received with mixed reviews, there is something to be said about the message.

“Each time this comes up, we are fed the excuse that common-sense reforms like background checks might not have stopped the last massacre, or the one before that, or the one before that, so why bother trying,” Obama said. The Iowa State Daily Editorial Board stands with Obama in saying, “I [we] reject that thinking.”

Talking about cutting down gun violence is not about isolating a group that uses guns for recreation or to ostracize those who use their right to bear arms as protection. As Obama also said in his speech, “it’s not a plot to take away everybody’s guns.” 

But this conversation is taking place because we need to face facts. People are dying because firearms can too easily land in the hands of some individuals who simply should not have them, therefore putting innocent lives at risk.

We watched the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School where 20 first graders lost their lives. We saw the act of terror in San Bernardino, Calif. in early December 2015 when 14 were killed and 22 seriously injured. Moviegoers suddenly had to err on the side of caution while attending a film because of the three acts of violence that occurred at movie theaters in 2015. What do these things say about the world we live in? They say, quite clearly, that we have a problem and this conversation needs to happen.

Obama went on to say that “we can’t stop every act of violence,” which is true. But what we can do is work to bring down the number of casualties. Although, in order for that to happen, we have to actually work rather than continue to just talk about the issue.

Obama’s speech was a call on the nation, and a necessary one at that. However, we cannot stop there. Talk is just talk and will not prevent more casualties.

We’ve got to walk the walk.