That said, the 23 executive actions announced earlier this year by President Barack Obama have at least moved the nation closer to a reasonable solution. Obama’s second term has been filled with all sorts of troubles, either real or imagined — the Benghazi attacks, the Boston Marathon bombings, the scandals at the Internal Revenue Service and the National Security Agency — but at least the White House is keeping up the pressure on this vital American concern.
On Thursday, a story in The New York Times examined the measures, which include, among other things, a relaxation of health-care privacy regulations that should help get mental health records into the national database used for background checks.
But The Times’ reporting also cast a cold reality on the White House’s executive actions. “Gun control groups said that they admired the efforts, but that they would never carry the weight of legislation to expand the number of gun buyers who are subjected to the background check system,” The Times wrote.
What’s at hand is a nation skittering around a problem, as if it were a bonfire too hot to touch. Some try and are scalded; others, fearful, back away and wait for the next brave soul.
The nasty twins of gun violence and access to guns aren’t going away.
Last month, Slate.com’s daily update on the number of gun-related deaths since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., reached a deadly milestone. Using online records and social media reports — which opens its database up to criticism — Slate reported that the number of gun deaths since Sandy Hook had surpassed the number of U.S. military and civilian Defense Department deaths in Iraq since March 2003.
On Thursday, Slate’s updated post-Sandy Hook gun-violence death total reached 5,042. That includes a variety of incident types, such as suicides, street crimes and those shot by police.
That also includes 102 in Alabama — 22 in Birmingham, 17 in Montgomery, six in Tuscaloosa and three in Huntsville. (The Romero Roberto Moya-related deaths in Oxford and Heflin also made the list.)
Much has happened in the United States since December in Newtown. America is embroiled in storylines of surveillance and scandal. But our need to bring sanity to gun violence and accessibility hasn’t subsided. The numbers keep rising.