President Obama’s newly announced executive actions to reduce gun violence are woefully inadequate, but they are a start. And they represent a signal to the Republican-led Congress that inaction will not stand.
While Republicans pledged to undo the new steps, which they argue are unconstitutional, an emotional Obama acted on his long-held belief that easy access to guns is exacerbating the numbing trend of multiple killings of innocents around the country. He announced a series of measures aimed at making it more difficult for the wrong people to purchase guns and called on law enforcement agencies to do whatever possible to reduce the proliferation of guns in this country without Congress.
“The gun lobby may be holding Congress hostage right now,” the president said, “but they can’t hold America hostage.”
A number of liberal Jewish groups voiced support for Obama’s initiative, including the National Council of Jewish Women, Jewish Women International, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center and Central Conference of American Rabbis.
Washington insiders noted that the steps announced are modest, almost symbolic, and that Congress will need to act for the country to change in any meaningful way. But that is hardly likely in the final year of the Obama administration. And the issue will recede until the next horrific shooting.