Obama gets real about his gun plans. People on both sides of the debate should listen.

Earlier this week, the Ted Cruz campaign posted this image on its official website:

Photo from Tedcruz.org, via TalkingPointsMemo.


The fundraising page and image were a response to Obama's executive order that tightened up a few existing gun laws.

The president's order expands the enforcement of background check laws to private and online dealers that sell firearms, initiates an overhaul of the FBI's background check system, and includes a proposal for increased investment in mental health care, among other things.

Many more vocal gun rights advocates worry that any change to America's gun laws — even a limited one — is one step on a "slippery slope" to all guns being banned.

A few presidential candidates other than Cruz have made statements to that effect. Media outlets and the NRA have also pressed the charge in recent months.

There is, however, one person who is pretty sure Obama isn't coming to take anyone's guns: President Obama.

Photo by Aude Guerrucci/Getty Images.

At a CNN Town Hall last night, the president categorically dismissed the accusation, which he described as as a false "notion of a conspiracy."

Anderson Cooper pressed him on that characterization...

Cooper: ... now, let me just jump in here, is it fair to call it a conspiracy...

And Obama replied...

Obama: ... well, yeah...

Obama pointed out that, in his seven years as president, he hasn't moved to try to confiscate any guns, and wouldn't be starting any time soon.

"Well, look, I mean, I'm only going to be here for another year. I don't know — when — when would I have started on this enterprise, right?" the president told Cooper.

Those who agree with President Obama about the need for tighter gun laws —and those who don't — need to do a better job of listening to what the other side is actually saying.

People on both sides of the issue have valid points that deserve to be heard, debated, and examined.

But good faith is too often missing from the discussion.

A gun shop in Las Vegas, which says it saw a spike in sales after President Obama was elected. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images.

Too many on the "anti-gun" side have convinced themselves that most gun owners are irresponsible and just trying to stockpile weapons for the fun of it.

Too many on the "pro-gun" side believe that common sense gun control measures mean the government coming to their door, raiding their gun lockers, and carrying away all their expensive firearms.

Overheated rhetoric makes it harder to do the things most of us agree on.

Photo by Jeff Schear/Getty Images.

At the moment, the gun debate feels like a game of dodgeball. Team Pro-Gun vs. Team Anti-Gun. NRA vs. Everytown. Republican vs. Democrat. Which is a shame, because — with the U.S. topping 30,000 gun deaths per year in recent years — most of us really, really want to meet in the middle (and not throw big rubber balls at each other).

Over 70% of Americans oppose banning handguns. At the same time, 85% of all Americans — gun owners and non-gun owners alike — support background checks of the kind that Obama's executive order calls for. 70% support a federal database to track gun sales. Nearly 60% support a ban on assault weapons.

These are easy things we can do.

The vast majority of gun owners are responsible, and the vast majority of those who support stricter gun laws don't want to take anyone's guns.

That's the bottom line — and a great starting place for a discussion we Americans should probably get going on, pronto.

Now that we've gotten that, let's go team.

Aight? Aight.

More
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular