President Obama delivered his gun control stump speech in his hometown of Chicago last Friday. He did not acknowledge that he was pressing for new restrictions in the town that makes owning a gun harder than anywhere else in the country, but is still wracked with astronomical levels of violence and killing.
“We may not be able to save every child from gun violence, but if we save a few, that starts changing the atmosphere in our communities,” he said. The truth is that this White House is making a point of currently not taking specific actions that would help keep children safe – actions that no one has any reason to oppose except for the politics behind them.
Businessweek reporter Paul Barrett outlines these issues in a piece entitled “A Modest Proposal: Firearm Safety Training.” He first notes how the government has spent less than 4 percent of the funding authorized under current law to improve the NICS system. Congress is partly to blame here as well, but full funding of the program has never been part of an Obama budget, either.
Then Barrett discusses a program with the goal of preventing unauthorized access to firearms. Barrett writes that “During the George W. Bush administration, Congress appropriated more than $90 million that was channeled by the Justice Department to Project ChildSafe. That program has distributed 35 million cable-style gun locks with the assistance, in many cases, of local police departments. Each lock comes with a safety brochure and other educational material meant to help parents keep firearms out of the hands of children (or thieves). Under the Obama administration, the Justice Department ceased funding the program, much to the consternation of local cops.”
Barrett offers his own theory as to why: “I strongly suspect that the reason is that Project ChildSafe has been—and still is—administered by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a gun-industry trade group friendly with the NRA. Obviously, the Obama administration has its differences with the gun industry and the lobby representing gun owners. This should not, however, prevent the White House from keeping guns out of kids’ hands.”
Mr. President, you can take action today to save lives by helping to prevent unauthorized access to firearms. There’s no need for more political drama or stump speeches. Just sign a directive restoring funding to Project ChildSafe.
Your own Vice President has told gun control activists to “let us worry about the politics.” But all you have to do here is leave the politics out of it.