“The gun control measures a tearful President Barack Obama announced Tuesday would not have prevented the slaughters of 20 first-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, or 14 county workers at a holiday party in San Bernardino, California,” Michael R. Sisak reported Wednesday for the Associated Press.
Among other media reactions to the gun control measures, “Several conservative media figures attacked President Obama for crying as he spoke about child victims,” Oliver Willis reported Tuesday for Media Matters for America.
By contrast, the Daily News in New York continued its crusade against gun violence Wednesday with a front page that proclaimed the Republicans “The Party of Pro-Death” and declared, “The News says: Republican leadership is composed of pandering liars stoking irrational fear. Their answer to Obama’s measured plan to stop crazies from getting guns is simple deceit. All in a blood-soaked race for cheap votes.” Key words were in red.
The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the Washington think tank on African American issues that has reduced its activities amid financial challenges, nevertheless issued a statement Wednesday on the importance of the gun issue.
“President Obama’s recent actions to improve background checks on gun purchases are important steps in protecting Americans of all backgrounds from mass shootings,” President Spencer Overton wrote. “We should recognize, however, that mass shootings are a very small percentage of U.S. firearm homicides, and that the President’s actions also work to improve the quality of life in communities of color.
“In 2014, African Americans accounted for 13 percent of the U.S. population, but over 57 percent of the victims of homicide by firearm. Firearm homicide was the leading cause of death for African American males ages 15-34, and the third leading cause of death for Latino males in the same age group (and would be second if combined with suicides in which firearms were used). Firearms were used in over 91 percent of homicides of African-American males ages 15-34, and in 81 percent of homicides of Latino males in this age group. . . .” .
Sisak’s analysis for the Associated Press continued, “Obama’s executive action expands mandatory background checks to gun shows, flea markets and online sales, adds more than 230 examiners and staff to help process them and calls on states to submit accurate and updated criminal history data.
“Those measures are seen as crucial to stemming gun suicides — the cause of two-thirds of gun deaths — by blocking immediate access to weapons. But, an Associated Press review shows, they would have had no impact in keeping weapons from the hands of suspects in several of the deadliest recent mass shootings that have spurred calls for tighter gun control.
“The shooters at Sandy Hook and San Bernardino used weapons bought by others, shielding them from background checks. In other cases, the shooters legally bought guns.
“In Aurora, Colorado, and at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., men undergoing mental health treatment were cleared to buy weapons because federal background checks looked to criminal histories and court-ordered commitments for signs of mental illness. The Obama administration is making changes in that realm by seeking to plug certain Social Security Administration data into the background check system and by helping states report more information about people barred from gun possession for mental health reasons.