Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband Capt. Mark Kelly listen to a question for President Barack Obama at last night's town hall on gun violence.
Former astronaut Mark Kelly, who runs Americans for Responsible Solutions with his wife, Gabby Giffords, wrote an op-ed for CNN
explaining why he supported the president's announcement this week that he would take executive action to expand background checks, provide more resources for the mentally ill and increase funding for the ATF, among other steps:
The President acted because Congress hasn't in the face of our country's gun violence crisis that claims 32,000 lives a year. Our kids are 14 times more likely be murdered with a gun than kids in other countries. Women in America are 11 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than women in our peer countries.
Read the whole thing here.
As a nation and a people, this is not how we want to stand out. But Congress has decided to stand down; almost every time, it has stood with the gun lobby.
So the President used his authority to act. His action narrows gaps in our laws by requiring anyone who sells a significant number of guns or operates like a commercial dealer to get a license and require their buyers to pass a criminal background check, just like existing licensed dealers already do.
With the law clarified, our law enforcement officials will be better able to enforce the laws already on the books.
It requires dealers to finally have to report lost or stolen guns. It increases the number of people processing background checks by 50% so that more dangerous people are blocked from making a purchase. And it works to strengthen funding for mental health treatment by $500 million.
This is hardly the stuff of massive upheaval. It is the stuff of common sense.
Already, though, the gun lobby's leaders have handed out the talking points to the people they back. If you haven't yet, you'll probably hear them on your TV soon.
You'll hear that this action is another step toward our government taking away the rights of law-abiding gun owners. The reality is that this proposal doesn't restrict how many or even what kinds of guns people can buy or sell. Gabby or I could go buy another gun tomorrow just the same as we could before.
You'll hear that the President's proposal is out of step with the American people. Research done on behalf of the organization Gabby and I started three years ago Friday, Americans for Responsible Solutions, found that 73% of Americans said they approve of Obama specifically taking this kind of action to narrow the loopholes in our background check laws.
And gun owners? Some 64% of them said they support it.