Two women who own guns almost stole the show by challenging President Barack Obama’s views and actions when he took his gun control pitch to a live audience on national TV.
Gun owners Taya Kyle, widow of “American Sniper” Chris Kyle, and Kimberly Corban, a Colorado rape victim, took on Obama’s push for stricter gun laws during CNN’s hourlong town hall event Thursday night.
Kyle disputed the administration’s repeated assertion that stricter gun control measures would curb violence, remarking that under Obama’s presidency the murder rate is at an all-time low while gun ownership is at its peak in the U.S.
Kyle’s late husband was a decorated Navy SEAL. He was fatally shot from behind by a fellow veteran he had taken to a gun range as a way to help him.
Stricter laws would not prevent criminals with murderous intent from killing, Kyle told Obama:
We have to recognize that we cannot outlaw murder. Because the people who are murdering are breaking the law, but they also don’t have the moral code that we have. So they can do the same amount of damage with a pipe bomb. The problem is that they want to murder.
Obama agreed that not all criminals could be stopped through expanded background checks, but said gun laws, like traffic laws, could reduce fatalities over time “so families are spared.”
Corban, who said she purchased a gun to protect herself and her two children after being raped as a college student, told the president that his proposed gun controls would make her family and other Americans “less safe.”
“I have been unspeakably victimized once already, and I refuse to let that happen again to myself or my kids,” Corban said.
Corban was raped in 2006 while a student at the University of Northern Colorado. Her attacker was convicted and got a 24-year prison sentence, but she has suffered from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and seizures.
“Why can’t your administration see that these restrictions that you’re putting [in place] to make it harder for me to own a gun, or harder for me to take that where I need to be, is actually just making my kids and I less safe?” she asked Obama.
The president responded that nothing his administration has proposed “would make it harder for you to purchase a firearm.”
Obama’s executive actions, announced Tuesday, would expand background checks through stricter gun licensing requirements and added FBI personnel to process applications.
The president also wants $500 million to improve access to mental health treatment, a measure that may require congressional approval.