Obama Calls on Supporters to 'Change Our Leadership and Our Laws'


Vague feelings and ambiguous “change” — those were the main platforms of President Barack Obama during his time as a candidate, and it seems he’s going back to the same tired tropes when it comes to gun control.

On Friday, the former president used Twitter to mark National Gun Violence Awareness Day, and posted an encouraging but incredibly hazy message to his followers.

“This National Gun Violence Awareness Day, show your commitment to keeping our kids safe from gun violence,” Obama declared. “Then, for everyone we’ve lost, take action to change our leadership and our laws until they reflect that commitment – no matter how long it takes.”

At first glance, it’s a solid message. After all, all Americans are committed to keeping kids safe… they simply disagree about the best way to do it.

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Obama’s way, it seems, is to “change our leadership and our laws.” Presumably he means vote in more Democrats and adopt liberal gun control measures like his hometown of Chicago — and that is where there’s a problem.

Conveniently, the former president left out one important detail: The data shows that liberal gun control laws have been disastrous for America, and Chicago is Exhibit A.

True enough, incidents like the Parkland shooting in Florida or the Santa Fe attack in Texas are disturbing crimes. But while the deaths that occurred in those shootings are absolutely tragedies, similar numbers of Chicago residents are gunned down every week, yet Obama and the media stay strangely silent.

The “Windy City” is one of the most violent places in America, and also happens to have some of the most strict liberal-style gun control laws in the country. According to Quartz Media, 765 people were murdered in Chicago in 2016. That’s over 14 people killed every single week, with no end in sight.

Do you think Chicago is a good example of gun control failures?

Mass shootings get attention because while they are disturbing and dramatic, they’re also relatively rare. Chicago’s violence, however, has become sadly routine.

Bizarrely, another anti-gun politician even used Chicago as an example to mark National Gun Violence Awareness Day, apparently oblivious to how tone-deaf this was.

“Hadiya Pendleton was only 15 years old when she was shot and killed outside her school in Chicago,” gun control advocate Gabby Giffords posted on Friday.

“I #WearOrange today for Hadiya, for the 96 Americans who die every day from gun violence,” she declared.

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She’s right one one thing: Pendleton’s death was tragic and unnecessary. But would “changing our laws” to be more like murder-spree Chicago really be the right path for America?

Probably not. Shockingly, 20 percent of a recent uptick in national violent crime has come from one place. You guessed it: Chicago.

“The increase in murder rates is mostly concentrated in several big cities—with Chicago accounting for about one-fifth of the rise between 2015 and 2016,” Quartz Media reported.

Even that recent uptick, however, pales in comparison to the significantly higher crime rates during the early 1990s.

During the Clinton presidency in 1993, for example, the U.S. murder rate was around twice as high as it is today. It stayed shockingly high even after the Clinton “assault weapons ban” was passed, and that legislation had no positive effect on crime at all.

As states moved toward “right to carry” legislation and concealed carry became prominent, crime fell. It continued to fall after the assault weapons ban ended in the early 2000s, and stayed low even as AR-15s became popular and common among law-abiding gun owners.

All of this begs one simple question: Which laws, specifically, does Obama want passed? It’s one thing to post vague messages about “change.” It’s something very different to provide specific plans that haven’t already been tried and shown to do precious little about gun crime.

Meanwhile, liberals like Obama have scoffed and blocked Republican proposals to actually put armed personnel in positions to stop shootings, and to enforce the gun laws that already exist.

The victims of violence deserve more than empty promises. Posting on Twitter or wearing orange for one day might get “likes” on social media, but does nothing to actually solve the problem.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.