“Some trust in horses, and some in chariots. But we trust in the name of Smith & Wesson.”
With apologies to the psalmist.
Yesterday, after hinting for years that gun control legislation or executive action should be taken to help curtail mass shootings, President Obama announced several steps he thinks will address violence committed with guns in the United States. I think Barack Obama is a masterful politician when he chooses to be. He barely pushed the boundaries of gun laws while making the folks at Mother Jones think he’s shutting down Springfield Armory, and turning Glock into a skillet factory.
“I want to be absolutely clear at the start, I believe in the second amendment,” he said. “It’s there written on the paper—it guarantees the right to bear arms. No matter how many times people try to twist my words around—I taught constitutional law, I know a little about this. But I also believe we can find ways to reduce violence consistent with the second amendment.”
It seems, though, neither Obama’s assertions about the 2nd Amendment, which he’s repeated over and over during his presidency, nor the actual content of the EOs are enough for those who are convinced he’s coming after their guns. The facts simply do not matter.
1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system. [You get to keep your guns.]
2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system. [Unless you are deranged, you can still buy guns.]
3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system. [Provides more information on background checks. You get to keep your guns.]
4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks. [Helps ensure people who are already forbidden from getting guns are being kept from getting guns.]
5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun. [This is a proposition, not a law.]
6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers. [Expanded background checks. If you can buy a gun legally now, you’ll be able to buy one then.]
7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign. [Responsible gun ownership is clearly a terrible idea.]
8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission). [You can to keep your guns more safely.]
9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations. [Duh.]
10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement. [Duh.]
11. Nominate an ATF director. [It’s vacant, maybe? If not, I guess the current director was surprised.]
12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations. [Why not?]
13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime. [Another terrible idea, I guess.]
14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence. [People with Ebola may not be able to buy a gun?]
15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies. [If a gun is stolen, Mr. Gang Banger can’t operate it.]
16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes. [I hope this is for the psychiatrist dealing with someone having a psychotic break, not a guy having his appendix removed.]
17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities. [There was a question about this?]
18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers. [This is a problem?]
19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education. [Tyranny!!]
20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover. [Dictator!!]
21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges. [Uhm…]
22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations. [Getting help for the mental ill is a good thing, no?]
23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health. [Isn’t this in the area of what we need if mental health is an issue?]
Obama might have done more given the opportunity, but it’s an opportunity the law did not allow:
But faced with clear legal limitations on his authority, Mr. Obama will take modest steps that stop well short of the kind of large-scale changes to the gun trade that he unsuccessfully sought from Congress three years ago. That legislation would have closed loopholes that allow millions of guns to be sold without background checks at gun shows or in online firearm exchanges.
Why is it so many pro-gun folks say, “The problem is mental illness, so deal with mental illness,” but, when Obama calls for money to be given to ensure people with mental illness do not ready access to firearms, he is criticized? Why, when they say, “Let’s do something about illegal gun traffic and leave law abiding citizens alone,” and then something is proposed that does just that, he is criticized? Why, when many say, “Close the loopholes, but don’t take my guns,” then the loopholes are closed without taking anyone’s guns, we get, “IT’S A GUN GRAB!”
Mark Follman at Mother Jones recognizes the limitations:
“Expanding background checks through a broader interpretation of current federal law still won’t close the so-called gun show loophole; hundreds of thousands of firearms will continue to be bought and sold with minimal regulation, both online and in person. Only an act of Congress could change that comprehensively.”
A spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association said on Monday that the organization’s lawyers would look at the president’s proposals more closely to determine if there was anything they might go to court to challenge. But she said that at first glance the plan seemed surprisingly thin.
“This is it, really?” asked Jennifer Baker, an official with the N.R.A.’s Washington lobbying arm. “This is what they’ve been hyping for how long now? This is the proposal they’ve spent seven years putting together? They’re not really doing anything.”
See above: Obama as politician.
Enter former congressman Allen West, and his
new fantasy novel article, “President Obama, before you try that gun grab, I have a WARNING for you.” His 100% fear mongering, pseudo-challenge has more in common with the Twilight novels than American politics. Read the entire piece; there is no proven fact in the entire rant.
We the American people have no other recourse than to resort to civil disobedience. We have no representatives in Washington DC who will stand and the Supreme Court has failed us as well.
Civil disobedience over what? Getting illegal guns off the streets? Money to help the mentally ill? Making sure people who are already forbidden from having guns don’t get them?
This is your final year as president of the United States so let us come to an agreement: you leave us alone and we, the American people, will let you stay and finish your term.
Man, please. The election is in eleven months. Obama is not going to be recalled, impeached, or harassed out of office. West can wave his hand and try the Force all he wants. It’s futile, his fake bravado notwithstanding.
If Obama’s goal is gun confiscation or disarming Americans he’s the most inept fascist dictator ever.
There is a major problem for followers of Jesus, and it is not a gun-grab. For seven years we’ve heard the warnings, and for seven years they’ve been erroneous. One pastor screamed on Facebook before the president even spoke:
THEY’RE COMING FOR THE GUNS. WAKE UP AMERICA. OUR OWN PRESIDENT SEEKS TO DESTROY US.
Such nonsense has no place among those who follow the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and lies should be repented of. You don’t have to agree with or like the use of Executive Orders, but tell the truth about what these actually do. (Consistent criticism of EOs is also suggested.)
The only “gray” area I can see is what constitutes “doing business” as a firearms dealer. In the past, the government has prosecuted low volume dealers, but there were extenuating factors besides the sale itself. The fact that armslist.com, many Facebook pages dedicated to gun sales, and word-of-mouth sales take place at all indicates what is meant: the government isn’t coming for your guns or mine. No one is being issued a bucket for your guns to leave on the curb for collection. The government, contra one Facebook commenter, will not prevent you from leaving your guns to your children.
One need not think Obama’s strategies will work to stop mass shootings. We can disagree about that. But, why wouldn’t reasonable people think better efforts to get illegal guns off the street, and to make sure stolen guns are reported promptly will stop murder and violence committed by criminals who can’t buy guns legally are good ideas? So far as I can tell, these proposals keep gun buying legal for lawful citizens, and make it more difficult to criminals and the mentally ill to buy them. Are these not pro-Second Amendment positions?
It could be that in the next eleven months President Obama pushes to buy back every pistol in the country and levy a heavy fine on every redneck with a gun rack. If he tries to limit gun ownership to one per household by executive fiat. Yesterday’s announcement, however, gets him no closer to that goal. Not even the width of a firing pin.