Taya Kyle, the widow of American hero Chris Kyle, boldly confronted President Barack Obama on Thursday night regarding the effectiveness of gun control legislation and warned that the president is offering a dangerous form of "false hope."
"I don't know that any of them would have been stopped by a background check," the outspoken Christian and mother-of-two told Obama of those who have committed mass shootings during the CNN-hosted town hall on gun violence.
"So I think part it we have to recognize is we cannot outlaw murder," she said. "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."
On Tuesday, the president announced measures to tighten federal background checks for gun sales, require gun sellers to be licensed or face criminal prosecution, and to expand mental health treatment. During his announcement, Obama said that, in order to protect innocent people, some "constraints on freedom" are acceptable.
For Kyle, the issue of gun control hits close to home, as her husband, war hero Chris Kyle, was shot and killed Feb. 2, 2013, at a firing range by a mentally disturbed U.S. Marines veteran he was helping.
"I want the hope that I have the right to protect myself," she said. "That I don't end up to be one of these families, that I have the freedom to carry whatever weapon I feel I need."
Kyle went on to ask the president why he refuses to acknowledge that "we are at the lowest murder rate in our country. All time of low of murders. All time high for gun ownership."
"Why not celebrate where we are?" she asked.
After thanking Kyle for both her and her husband's service, Obama stated, "I challenge the notion that the reason for that is that there is more gun ownership. Because if you look at the where the areas are with the highest gun ownership, those are the places that the crime hasn't dropped down that much...I'm not sure there is a one-to-one correlation there."
He added, "But I think the most important point I want to make is that you will be able to purchase a firearm, some criminals will get their hands on firearms even if there is a background check ... But in the same way that we don't eliminate all traffic accidents but over the course of 20 years traffic accidents get lower ... but over time that violence was reduced so families are spared. That's the same thing we can do with gun ownership," he concluded.
Speaking during an appearance on Fox News on Friday, Kyle argued that the effectiveness of more gun laws is limited, as thousands already are on the books, yet only a fraction of gun cases are prosecuted.
"So first of all, we're not enforcing them, we're not prosecuting them ... why make another one?" she said. "I think it's a false hope type thing."
Kyle went on to challenge the president's use of executive actions to enact changes.
"When he's talking about that people are scared that you're going to take away our freedom, it's not just the freedom of whether I have to take a background check or not. It's not just that. It's the idea that one man would say, 'I know what's best for everyone else' and by executive action - make a new law," she said.
In an op-ed published on CNN, Kyle warned that "We have slipped into a land of government that has promised the moon, seldom delivered and driven us into a world of more laws, more government, and less freedom -- and none of that has stopped murder, pain and suffering."
Arguing that "no government can provide the utopia many seek," Kyle expressed hope that the United States will continue to value freedom and "have the courage to face the realities with faithful hearts instead of anxious ones."
She added, "I hope our people hold tight to the notion that we do not have to be a fear-ridden country focused on restrictions, but rather that we remain the land of the free and home of the brave."