CNHI News Service

Opinion

January 22, 2013

EDITORIALS: Citizens must act; GOP budget action

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Citizens, not lobbyists, must answer on guns

(The Free Press – Mankato, Minn.)

On the same day President Obama was proposing a package of gun-control measures, Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken stated his support for limiting high-capacity ammunition clips and expanding background checks. But he omitted any reference to a ban on military-style weapons. When a reporter asked a Franken spokesman what gun restrictions the senator might support, the aide said "I guess I don't have an answer for you." Franken, who faces re-election in 2014, later said he wants to see the specifics in any legislation but supports a ban "on principle."

And there's the rub on how any of these initiatives will fare going forward. On some issues, Americans are somewhat in agreement. Even the president of the National Rifle Association on Thursday said the group was generally supportive of strong background checks on firearm purchases. A Pew Research survey found the majority of people -- gun owners and non-gun-owners -- favored such checks including insuring that people with mental illness cannot purchase weapons. And there is some support for putting more law enforcement in our schools.

But overall, we are a divided nation with roughly half believing in more controls on gun ownership with the other half wanting greater protection on gun ownership.

In determining how we should advance we found little concern -- and some encouragement -- in the 23 executive orders issued by the president.

The encouraging signs were those that addressed mental health issues. The order called for finalizing regulations "clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements with the ACA exchanges and committing to finalizing parity regulations." Those regulations have been long ignored.

Sadly what was omitted in the directives is any study or review on the effects of violent movies or computer games that may be contributing to the violent nature of our young society. This has been cited by many but is a woefully understudied aspect in the debate.

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