I suddenly had a light-bulb moment, an epiphany if you will! I am stoked … I have identified the problem with the republican presidential candidates, which means that we can now proceed to find the solution! The problem is that they cannot read! Yes, that is right … they are functionally illiterate! I figured this out when I saw a “web page showing a scowling Obama in a helmet, looking like a jackbooted thug staging a home invasion, with the warning, “Obama wants your guns.” Chris Christie protested that Obama was behaving like a “petulant child.” Jeb Bush decried Obama’s “gun-grabbing agenda.” Donald Trump warned that Obama was moving toward banning guns. The upshot of all this scaremongering was more Americans rushing out to buy firearms.” More guns were sold in December 2015 than in any other month in nearly two decades! Thanks to Mr. Christie, Mr. Cruz, Mr. Bush and Mr. Trump, I am now significantly less safe anywhere I go! Let me just set the record straight … below are the actual terms of President Obama’s executive action on gun control that prompted the ridiculous remarks from the GOP candidates:
- To require any business that engages in the sale of guns to obtain a federal license to do so and conduct background checks
- To issue a rule requiring background checks for purchasers of certain dangerous firearms and other items who purchase them through a trust, corporation or other legal entity and to clarify that gun dealers/licensees who ship firearms have the responsibility to notify law enforcement if their guns are lost or stolen in transit.
- To increase the dialog with states to ensure the background check system is as comprehensive as it can be
- To overhaul the background check system to make it more efficient and accurate
- To increase funding to ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms) for the hiring of 200 new ATF agents and investigators to help enforce existing gun laws, and to establish an Internet Investigation Center with dedicated personnel to track illegal online firearms trafficking
- To encourage federal U.S. attorneys to work with state and local authorities and groups to increase prevention of domestic violence and to prevent prohibited persons from obtaining firearms
- To increase access to mental health care by increasing service capacity and the behavioral health workforce
- To conduct or sponsor research into gun safety technology that would reduce the likelihood of accidental discharge or unauthorized use of a firearm
- To focus resources on eliminating the most dangerous and impactful cases in illegal gun trafficking, and violent offenders who bypass the background check system and purchase guns illegally
- To remove legal barriers preventing states from reporting information to NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System)
For full text of the executive action, click on http://www.ncsl.org/research/civil-and-criminal-justice/summary-president-obama-gun-proposals.aspx
I have read through this numerous times searching for something, anything that indicates that gun owners will be forced to give up their guns, but I cannot find a single word or phrase to support this. I have also read and re-read the action seeking a phrase that would deny people the right to purchase a gun, and again … nothing. Unless, of course, you have a criminal background or mental illness, but even most republicans support denying guns to criminals and those with a history of mental illness.
So what is the issue? The issue is that the GOP candidates are unable to read! This would be a real problem if any of them were actually elected to the office of president, because if they cannot read something this simple, they surely will not be able to read the many legal documents and treaties that cross the desk of the president on any given day. I suppose we could hire somebody to read these documents for them and translate the legalese into a more basic, more simplistic language that they could understand, but is that what we really want? Do we want to have to confess to Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-Un or Bashar al-Assad that our own leader is illiterate? There is currently no requirement in the Constitution requiring that candidates for the presidency pass any form of literacy test, but I think there should be and I think it should happen soon, as in before November! Donald Trump is ranting and railing about Ted Cruz being born in Canada … perhaps he should be more concerned about Cruz’ illiteracy … but oh wait, Trump himself is also illiterate!
Okay, yes I am being facetious and I am sure that all the candidates have at least acquired 6th grade reading skills by now. Every one of those who are spreading rhetoric about President Obama’s new gun regulations are perfectly aware that the action does little more than solidify existing laws and require sufficient federal agents to enforce those laws. But it is an election year and the republicans currently rank very low in the eyes of most potential voters, so they have determined the way to the White House is to get the public riled with lies and over-dramatizations such as those I mentioned in the first paragraph of this post. I am appealing to the citizens of the U.S. to be smarter than the candidates, don’t fall for the rhetoric and downright lies. President Obama does not want your guns … he is trying to protect your life. Please … take a few minutes and read the action for yourselves if you don’t believe me, then write to these candidates and let them know that you do not appreciate being lied to and misled. Let them know that you will only vote for a candidate who is both honest and literate!
 Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times, 07 January 2016