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I Applaud the President’s Efforts to Curb Gun Violence

Cristen Hemmins got completely immersed in the battle to defeat Initiative 26 in MS (The Personhood Initiative) in 2011, and was interviewed live on The Rachel Maddow Show, MPB, BBC radio, and other media outlets in print and television. Feeling completely fed up with not being represented in Mississippi state government, she’s now Vice-Chair of her county Democratic party, is on the State Democratic Executive Committee, and was a delegate to the 2012 DNC.

This native Mississippian is self-employed and sells ads for a few different print publications in her spare seconds of not being a political activist. Her kids are 6, 8, and 10, and she is happily married to an Englishman. They all live in an old farmhouse on the edge of Oxford and enjoy their flowers, chickens, veggies, cats, a bunny, a dog, and a guinea pig. Email Cristen at cristenh@watervalley.net and follow on Twitter: @CristenHemmins.


I am furious this morning over people speaking out against President Obama’s plans announced yesterday to try to save lives and curb gun violence. It’s being reported across the country that our very own Governor Bryant said some things that are so dumb, I cringe.

“If they want a 30-round clip, they’re going to get it out of Brazil or the Soviet Union,” Bryant told reporters in Jackson yesterday. “It’s going to go on the black market. Self-protecting citizens won’t have that right, but criminals will.”
The Soviet Union dissolved in the early 1990s.

Furthermore, and more importantly, the points that President Obama is making with the executive orders announced yesterday are very reasonable and worthwhile. The ideas he puts forward are ones the majority of Americans agree with and want.

Universal background checks on gun buyers, for example, are favored by 92 percent of Americans, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll  released today.

“If you want to buy a gun — whether it’s from a licensed dealer or a private seller — you should at least have to show you are not a felon or somebody legally prohibited from buying one,” Mr. Obama said yesterday, adding that “as many as 40 percent of all gun purchases are conducted without a background check.”

How can anyone disagree with this?!

The President also wants to increase studies on gun violence  so that we know better where and how violence is happening, so we can better stop it. The NRA and gun industry lobbyists have stifled such studies, so as to increase gun manufacturers’ bottom lines. How can anyone support groups such as these that would so blatantly value money over human lives?

GOP officials and right-wingers across the country have likened President Obama’s plans to tyranny and have mentioned impeachment. However, even Ronald Reagan’s solicitor general  said, “These are either standard exercises of presidential power, or even more benignly, standard examples of the power of the president to exhort the public or state officials to be aware of certain problems and to address them.”He even went on to joke, “Is it an impeachable offense to nominate an ATF director?”

The former prime minister of Australia wrote an op-ed to The New York Times yesterday titled, “I Went After Guns. Obama Can, Too,” in which he says, “In the 18 years before the 1996 reforms, Australia suffered 13 gun massacres — each with more than four victims — causing a total of 102 deaths. There has not been a single massacre in that category since 1996.”

We Americans should look to other countries that have curbed their gun deaths, and use them as an example to do the same here. If violent video games and movies are the problem in America, as so many right-wingers say, then why do other countries with the same violent video games and movies not share our problem with gun deaths? We are not the only country with mental health issues, violent video games, and violent movies.

A friend of mine said it so well this morning, I want to shout this to the rooftops: “What we are being asked to do is accept that there’s nothing we can do, because the rights of gun nuts are more important than our children being shot.”
I will pull my kids out of Oxford City Schools the day they start posting armed guards, or armed teachers for that matter, at the doors. I refuse to live in a world where that happens. My mother, who has taught kindergarten for decades, feels the same way.

We can, and must do better by our children. We can create a world where less people die at the muzzle of a gun. As a victim of gun violence myself—I was shot twice as I escaped two men who abducted and raped me in Jackson in 1991—and as a mother of three young children, I demand a safer America, and a safer Mississippi, and I applaud the President’s efforts.

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