WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is making good on his pledge to politicize gun violence.
The package of gun-control executive actions Obama will formally announce on Tuesday has pushed the contentious issue to the forefront of the 2016 presidential campaign, just weeks from the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses. Much of the actions will center on requiring background checks for certain firearm purchases.
Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning, NY 23) believes a conversation needs to take place regarding gun use, but doesn’t think unilateral executive action is the way to go.
“I stand with the Second Amendment and as we have the conversation on gun control I think we have to make sure that we always remember that we have a fundamental, individual freedom that is in the U.S. Constitution and we need to respect that,” Reed said.
Reed also said that any discussion needs to focus on how to enforce existing laws that prevent guns from getting into the hands of criminals, as well as how to keep them out of the hands of the mentally ill.
“I think there’s some opportunity there for common ground,” Reed said. “Rather than going after law-abiding citizens maybe we should go after the root cause of the problem, and that’s usually a criminal or someone who is in need of mental health services. I think it would only be right if we focus on those areas as we go forward.”
While Republicans and Democrats are deeply divided on the issue, both parties see Obama’s actions as an opportunity to generate enthusiasm among primary voters.
But in a general election, the gun debate becomes a blurrier political proposition. Public opinion polls show Americans overwhelmingly support expanding background checks for gun purchases, but are more divided on the broader question of stricter gun laws.