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Obama continues to push stricter gun laws

President Barack Obama remained adamant in a speech on Jan. 4 summarizing simply his intentions to continue pushing the passing of stricter national gun laws.

“We don’t have to agree on everything to agree it’s time to do something,” the president said before a crowd of law enforcement officers at the Minneapolis Police Department Special Operations Center in Minnesota.

This sentiment is one that after months of heated debate, both sides of the gun control debate can agree with.

Kentucky elected officials and citizens have continued to contribute to this nation-wide discussion ever since the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting which left 20 students and six adults dead and was the catalyst for the still raging debate.

Kentucky has become increasing vocal especially considering its comparatively lenient gun controls law which Obama’s proposed measures would inevitably affect.

In a report in 2011 by the Bradley Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a non-profit organization striving to enact “more sensible gun laws, regulations and public policies”, they rated Kentucky 47th out of all 50 states for the weakest gun laws in the country, giving them a score of just two out of a possible 100 points.

Already set to oppose possible new government legislature regarding gun control, Kentucky legislature passed House Bill 500 sponsored by state Representative Bob Damron which “limits cities and counties from having local firearms ordinances to expand the units of government and public agencies covered, expand limitations on local action and provide that parties may sue to enjoin violations.”

House Bill 500 went in to effect on July 11, along with House Bill 484, which allows “landowners and businessmen with a sole proprietorship to carry a handgun concealed without the necessity of a concealed carry permit,” and House Bill 563 which protects lawful firearm retailers from illegal anti-gun sting operations.

These bills were enacted before Obama formally unveiled his gun control plans consisting of 23 executive measures on Jan. 16.

Obama called on Congress to pass measures banning the sale and manufacturing of assault weapons, limiting the sale of high-capacity magazines and the expansion of the criminal background check system for buying guns, as well as increasing access to mental health services..

On Jan, 4, Kentucky Senator Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell addressed his supporters in an email responding to Obama’s initial proposal and recent campaigning.

“You and I are literally surrounded,” McConnell said. “The gun-grabbers in the Senate are about to launch an all-out-assault on the Second Amendment; on your rights; on your freedom.”

McConnell’s stalwart stance on gun control was then attacked Tuesday by a television ad launched by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and billionaire business magnate George Soros.

The ad, which will run in Louisville, Lexington and Washington D.C, for at least a week, criticizes McConnell for his resistance to “common sense reforms” and for his taking of political donations from gun manufacturers.

Jesse Benton, McConnel’s campaign manager responded to the PCCC ad Wednesday.

“Sen. McConnell fully anticipated that protecting Kentucky from President Obama’s gun control agenda would result in a flurry of attack ads from left-wing groups,” he said. “It’s not a secret to Kentuckians that Sen. McConnell is a stalwart supporter of their Second Amendment rights, and George Soros funded commercials aren’t going to change that.” ”

Obama acknowledged the potential ban on assault weapons would be the most challenging law he could convince Congress to pass, but it still deserves to be voted on in his speech in Minneapolis.

However regarding his proposed “universal background checks” Obama said there is no reason why we can’t get that done.

“Changing the status quo is never easy,” Obama said. “This will be no exception. The only way we can reduce gun violence in this county is if it the American people decide it’s important, if you decide it’s important — parents and teachers, police officers and pastors, hunters and sportsmen, Americans of every background stand up and say, ‘This time, it’s got to be different.’”

Story by Ben Manhanke, Staff writer.