Talk show legend Montel Williams is a conservative, one who has expressed very critical opinions of Barack Obama in the past. But Williams says there’s an area where he can’t disagree with the President — Obama’s plan to use his executive powers to help alleviate a problem most of his fellow conservatives won’t touch.
On Tuesday, the President broke into tears as he discussed the problem of gun violence in America today — specifically, the lives lost in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, which Obama calls the “worst day in [his] presidency.” Obama has pledged to close the “gun show loophole,” which has traditionally allowed pretty damn near everyone to circumvent the background check procedure and get themselves a shootin’ stick with minimal hassle. In addition, the President will be removing legal barriers preventing a doctor from reporting when someone is too crazy to have a gun, strengthening licensing requirements for sellers, and making dealers responsible for reporting guns that go missing.
While many conservatives, including the veritable Brady Bunch of ignorance that is the GOP 2016 presidential field, view these common sense steps as an attack on the freedom of every single man, woman, and child, Williams applauds the President’s approach to the problem of gun violence today. “I PROUDLY own 14 guns RESPONSIBLY,” Williams wrote on Facebook. “Naturally, I listened closely to what President Obama said today on guns, and I’ve read what was put out detailing his proposals.”
He explained that no truly responsible gun owner should oppose the President’s plans to reform gun laws, nor should any of them develop the opinion that the President and his jack-booted thugs will be going door to door taking people’s firearms from them.
“I’m a proud, responsible gun owner and we ought to be the LOUDEST voices for universal background checks, for keeping guns away from criminals and the mentally ill,” he says. “That is how to be a proud steward of the #2aright I and so many others hold dear.”
“If I thought for a minute the goal was to take my guns, I’d oppose it,” Williams added in a comment. “I’m a law abiding American – nothing to fear. I think the corollary to effective background checks is to make it EASIER and more streamlined for law abiding folks to get guns.”
In an op-ed for HuffPo, Williams says that “as a proud, responsible, gun owner,” he “can’t NOT support” the President’s proposal:
“I realize this may not make me popular with some gun owners, and I realize there is deep distrust of President Obama and his use of executive action. Simply put, I’ve always believed in being a responsible ambassador for the Second Amendment, a right that I hold dear; and, thus, I believe responsible gun owners MUST be the loudest voices for universal background checks and addressing the mental health crisis we face in this country, which form the crux of the president’s proposals.”
Williams says that he has formed his views largely through his work with students “in the wake of school shootings over the years.” Williams challenges anyone who disagrees that it is important to enact common sense gun legislation to spend time with children who have survived school shootings:
“They all have the same, haunted look in their eyes, one that frequently keeps me up at night. I would challenge anyone to listen to their stories, experience their pain and then go back the next year and the next, and see how profoundly they are affected and then do it all over again for the next school — you’ll feel the same way I do.”
“Universal background checks should be a no-brainer. Guns should not change hands without a background check,” he says. “I cannot give my car to my children without filing a form with the DMV, and no one complains about that burden, nor do they suggest it’s a veiled attempt to de-car America.”
Unfortunately, the NRA and its acolytes spread fear — Obama wants your guns — to all who will listen, and unfortunately too many listen. The NRA and its bought-and-paid-for politicians fight progress with regard to gun legislation every step of the way — including, of course, background checks. Giving up even that much, in their eyes, would be giving up their guns.
Williams suggests that we dispense with the meaningless rhetoric, cross the aisle, and work together to solve the problem of gun violence in this country — the root of which, he says, is that it’s “dangerous allowing people to acquire guns without a background check.”
Williams says that both liberals and conservatives need to skip the divisiveness that plagues our country and focus on the fact that our children’s lives are at stake. He asks his fellow gun owners not to buy into the extreme Right’s propaganda that paints this as a gun-grabbing measure:
“This is common sense, and, ultimately, the best way to advance and protect the Second Amendment right we hold dear.”
Williams is right. No one is trying to take anyone’s guns. In fact, President Obama is attempting to ensure that everyone who should be able to get a gun can get one. In the end, this would even accomplish some conservative goals: people would feel safer around armed individuals if they all passed a comprehensive background check and were mentally competent to handle the weapon, for instance. In that sense, the President’s plan is a godsend for pro-Second Amendment people of all stripes. If conservatives want to end the stigma associated with gun ownership, the absolute best way is to support this opportunity to protect the integrity of the Second Amendment.
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