Gun control is about more than gun rights

"President Obama signs gun-violence-related executive actions following an announcement at the White House Wednesday." (source: CNN)

“President Obama signs gun-violence-related executive actions following an announcement at the White House Wednesday.” (source: CNN)

In recognizing Religious Freedom Day, President Obama made a proclamation that celebrated the right to religious freedom in the United States:

Because of the protections guaranteed by our Constitution, each of us has the right to practice our faith openly and as we choose. As a free country, our story has been shaped by every language and enriched by every culture. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, Sikhs and non-believers. Our patchwork heritage is a strength we owe to our religious freedom.

Interestingly, after making this proclamation, the President signed executive orders to address gun control, and discussed how freedom of religion and other rights have been interfered with by those who perpetrate acts of gun violence:

The right to worship freely and safely, that right was denied to Sikhs in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.  The right to assemble peaceably, that right was denied shoppers in Clackamas, Oregon, and moviegoers in Aurora, Colorado.  That most fundamental set of rights to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness — fundamental rights that were denied to college students at Virginia Tech, and high school students at Columbine, and elementary school students in Newtown, and kids on street corners in Chicago on too frequent a basis to tolerate, and all the families who’ve never imagined that they’d lose a loved one to a bullet — those rights are at stake.  We’re responsible.

Each Constitutional right has its advocates, but it is also true that we must not allow rights to effectively compete with each other, but instead to respect all rights and find the appropriate balance such that one right is not a threat to the existence of others.


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