In his speech on guns this week, the president announced a minor change to gun control laws – via executive orders – that will redefine who qualifies as a "dealer" and thereby requires a license and must perform background checks. The orders will also require more information-sharing about mental health care, domestic violence and criminal histories, and will increase FBI funding in order to speed up background checks.

These executive orders will have little effect on gun policy, but demonstrate the president's apt political posturing on this issue. The president is staunchly anti-gun, but also sees this as an opportunity to rally his base and draw moderates to his team, in what is likely to be a difficult political year as a lame-duck president.

He might succeed in generating a political boost, but his gun control efforts are unlikely to yield benefits in terms of reduced crime.

First, it's important to note that gun homicides actually decreased by a whopping 49 percent from 1993 to 2010. From 2010 to 2014, the gun homicide rate has remained relatively flat.

But Americans don't feel that way. Most Americans believe gun violence is increasing, perhaps because of the many recent public (and widely publicized) mass shootings like those at Sandy Hook Elementary School (2012), Fort Hood, TX, (2014) or Umpqua Community College (2015).

President Barack Obama would have Americans believe that today's gun laws are lax and that tightening them could prevent shootings like these. That's why he wants to pretend that background checks for gun sales today are rare. Yet all licensed gun dealers are already required to perform background checks, no matter their sales volumes, or whether they sell guns online, at a gun show, or in their stores.

Expanding background checks to person-to-person gun sales will have little effect. Importantly, this requirement can easily be avoided. Instead, these executive actions will only increase bureaucracy and federal spending, and add a hurdle for those who intend to follow the law when they buy or sell a firearm.

But importantly for Republicans, while the president's actions may be purely political, they are likely to succeed as a political effort.

Of course, these orders will madden many gun lovers in the Republican base, but the president's speech will appeal to many middle-of-the-road voters who just want to see the issue addressed.

On the broader issue of "gun control," most Americans side with the Second Amendment, but these particular moves – expanding background checks, addressing mental health issues – enjoy more public support. The president is attempting to position himself as a rational moderate on an issue where truly he is more of an extremist, because he understands that he needs to reach outside of his base for support.

Republicans should take note. Not all voters who generally support the Second Amendment are gun lovers. Republicans need to learn to do a better job speaking to these voters about this issue. Otherwise these voters will feel alienated by the "lock-and-load" language of the gun lobby and will easily gravitate to the president's side.

One of the most-talked moments in his most recent address was the moment he became visibly emotional while discussing the Sandy Hook shooting. Republicans would be mistaken to mock the president's tears – sincere or not.

We should all shed tears for innocent lives lost. Sadness and anger are the only appropriate responses to the mowing down of first graders, and many other Americans have cried at the thought or the reality of losing someone to violence.

That said, we should not allow our emotions to drive our public policy. We should be careful to rationally direct our anger at the right place. These evil acts are not the fault of guns, but the fault of bad – and sometimes mentally ill – actors. As Sen. Marco Rubio has pointed out (and the Washington Post's Fact-Checker found zero Pinocchios), none of the mass shootings of recent years would have been stopped by more gun laws.

It's frustrating that we cannot easily banish evil from our society with the wave of a magic wand, or the wave of a president's pen on a new set of orders. We should look at the factors that have contributed to lower gun violence since the 1990's – like a stronger economy and better policing strategies – and do what we can to minimize violence moving forward.