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.

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