Announcing anti-gun measures in front of a theatrical backdrop of children, itself a tactic associated with troubling historical precedents, President Barack Obama yesterday proposed specific legislative efforts related to guns for Congress to pass, and also outlined 23 measures he says can be implemented under executive authority.
To set the stage for using children, the White House, along with a complicit anti-gun media, made a point of sharing letters from children, particularly those that resonate with the childish emotions of those who don’t know enough about guns to know they’re being manipulated. Case in point is the message from an eight-year-old who begged the president “Please don’t let people own machine guns or other powerful guns like that.”
This of course, falls right in line with a planned strategy articulated by Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center, who as far back as 1988 articulated the deception by declaring “The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons — anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun — can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.”
“First: It’s time for Congress to require a universal background check for anyone trying to buy a gun,” the president asserted. “The law already requires licensed gun dealers to run background checks, and over the last 14 years that’s kept 1.5 million of the wrong people from getting their hands on a gun.”
That claim is actually the genesis of the “Authorized Journalist” term used by Gun Rights Examiner. Years ago, this correspondent attempted to ask an anti-gun politician at another political press event why, if so many prohibited people were being stopped from buying guns via the background check system why there were not commensurate prosecutions and convictions for what is a federal felony, and was told by a police representative that questioning of officials at that event by non-government-recognized journalists was forbidden.
It also stands in stark contrast to actual practice committed and subsequently covered up by agents of the Obama administration, who purposely allowed guns to go to violent Mexican cartels as well as domestic criminals, oftentimes with gun dealers being told by federal law enforcement to ignore failed background checks and complete firearms transfers known to be illegal.
“Second: Congress should restore a ban on military-style assault weapons, and a 10-round limit for magazines,” the president declared, resurrecting a long time goal that was warned about by some, and ridiculed by those who saw an advantage in diminishing gun owner fears.
These are the two major legal changes gun rights advocates must fight tooth and nail, and remind their representatives that they will not be scapegoated, and will revenge themselves at the polls on any politician who betrays them and the oath of office. Also among Obama’s legislative proposals is a plan to ban possession of currently owned militia-suitable (“armor piercing”) ammunition.
But also representing a danger are the previously “under the radar” incursions that are now threatening to drop their payloads on strategic targets.
Executive actions announced by the president include:
“Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system,” is the first item on the list. What that relevant data might be, and what privacy and civil liberties considerations lend themselves to abuse demand definition and analysis.
“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,” the list continues. Again, the dangers of allowing government into the examining room and allowing the executive branch to be the sole arbiter of “unnecessary legal barriers” as opposed to fundamental medical privacy rights reinforces and establishes dangerous precedents.
“Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system” is the third action. The nebulous term “information” screams for a comprehensive breakdown of just what Obama’s got in mind, and as for “incentives,” federal purse strings have time and again proven to be puppet strings that erode Tenth Amendment protections.
“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” is another directive that may sound good to the uninformed, but is rife with potential for abuse, particularly of such people have not been convicted of anything. Guilty until proven innocent is exactly the opposite of what our legal system is supposed to presume.
“Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun” is another proposition that seems “common sense” on the surface but has hidden currents below. Lawful gun owners are put in the position of having to prove their innocence to reclaim their property, risking being rejected for reasons other than having been adjudicated prohibited and the criminals who create the violence problems are just going to ignore this new bureaucracy and get another stolen gun.
“Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers” appears to presuppose an end to truly private sales, will again do nothing to address the criminal black market on guns, and if ATF is not already working with FFLs on how to complete required forms and keep records for private sellers who use their services for interstate transfers, it might be fair to ask why not. Also unaddressed, if the goal is to ensure prohibited persons don’t buy guns through dealers, as opposed to accumulating data that can be pulled into a registration database at some later date, is why the government doesn’t relieve those concerns by adopting a system like BIDS, which would make such a list impossible.
“Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign” is another mandate that sounds like “common sense,” until one realizes “safe and responsible” from the gun ban crowd means citizens will be discouraged from owning guns in the first place, and given one-size-fits-all pitchfork murderer-enabling propaganda in the second. That committed anti-gunners pass themselves off as qualified “gun safety” promoters, and that they disparage the National Rifle Association, which actually provides the gold standard, points to another Orwellian deception used by people who rely on that to get their way.
“Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission)” is another Obama “safety” point showing an “everything including the kitchen sink” approach that is the camel’s nose under the tent for mandatory so-called “safe storage” (lock up your safety or else) laws.
“Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations” sounds like it has the potential to greatly expand federal involvement and give them preeminence in state and local police jurisdictional matters, especially since the current system allows for domestic (and Mexican!) law enforcement to conduct such checks on the eTrace system. What this will do is create centralized records that will be useful to them if this or a later administration develops a workaround to Tiahrt Amendment protections.
“Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement” is again, something that would require federal meddling in local law enforcement to accumulate such a comprehensive database, and sets the stage for requiring the reporting of stolen guns – a Bloomberg mayor’s group priority that would only penalize crime victims while exempting criminals, not to mention another police state-expanding boondoggle that would have absolutely no effect on the next gangland drive-by or “gun free zone” massacre.
“Nominate an ATF director” is a goal that’s actually (unbelievably) been used by some to make excuses for walking guns to Mexico, and ignores the fact that past candidates have beendoctrinaire anti-gunners like Andrew Traver. With Acting Director B. Todd Jones the new nominee, Senators providing Advice and Consent per their Constitutional duty need to seriously investigate concerns being expressed by the same “dissident” whistleblowers that brought Fast and Furious to light.
“Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations” ignores the fact that the first responders are the ones doing the dying. As long as insane “gun free zones” that guarantee mass murderers success are mandated by law, the anti-gunners will be assured of fresh blood supplies to dance in.
“Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime” again sounds like a “common sense” platitude until one realizes that what the administration means is to focus more on gun ownership than on criminal abuse of guns, and that national government involvement in that would be practically nonexistent under the system of federalism signed onto by the Founders.
Item 14, “Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence,” ignores what happened last time anti-gun activists posing as government researchers used tax dollars to, in the words of Dr, Mark Rosenberg, then-Director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Control and Prevention “revolutionize the way we look at guns, like what we did with cigarettes. Now it [sic] is dirty, deadly, and banned.”
“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,” and of course what Obama is referring to is so-called “smart gun” technology, something initial research grants intended as a protective measure for law enforcement, but morphed into an expensive, nonexistent and probably unworkable imposition on the general citizenry, albeit it does make for a clever fictional plot device for fantasy films.
Another executive action is to “Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.” What this also doesn’t do is clarify what qualifications or credentials doctors have to dispense “lock up your safety” prescriptions and the boundary violations such presumptions create — not to mention what recourse a patient should have if the counseling results in harm.
Closely related to this is the action to “Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.” While a compelling argument can be made that all members of society, physicians included, share in a moral duty to deter threats of violence, this is something that could have the potential to turn “First do no harm” on its ear. By making doctors de facto conduits to law enforcement, not only might some patients be discouraged from seeking help, but the fact that anything they share under the assumption of doctor-patient privilege can be used against them by the state ought to concern civil libertarians as a serious erosion of the right against self-incrimination, and one wonders if a warning to that effect ought to be ethically and legally required as part of informed consent.
“Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers” is a curious position for the president to take after an identical proposal by NRA Executive Director Wayne LaPierre was met with howls of derision and accusations of being a lunatic by anti-gun activists, politicians and media. That this approach still maintains mythical “gun free zones” and “Only Ones” police exclusivity while withholding the right to bear arms from the people is something one would have expected them to embrace. If anything, the ones giving LaPierre a hard time on this ought to be NRA members, reminding him about the purposes and objectives the association bylaws require him to uphold.
In tandem with expanding the security bureaucracy while leaving citizens unarmed, the president says he will “develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.” Models developed to date include running, hiding and, as a last resort, taking on an armed madman bare-handed. If they take inputs from Illinois, they’ll also include vomiting, using rat tailed combs and screaming.
The last four actions all deal with mental health, and the president says he will “Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover; Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges; Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations [and] Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.” That all of this holds the dangerous potential to cast a blanket dragnet for gun rights disabilities and remove full due process from the equation is a very serious concern and one which has already impacted veterans. That some on the “pro gun” side are touting mental health “improvements” without raising these flags and championing ways to “legally” restore rights to those who are not (or no longer) a danger to themselves and others I something activist gun owners must not be afraid to correct.
All in all, as Michael A. Walsh pointed out in a New York Post commentary, the president’s executive actions are “tepid, marginal stuff … And none of these edicts, will have the slightest effect on psychos who illegally obtain weapons and then attack innocents in the free-fire areas known as ‘gun-free zones.’” With rumors spreading in pro-gun forums about possible importation bans based on “sporting purposes,” or even going so far as to imagine Obama ordering agents to stand down on NICS background checks to bring gun sales to a screeching halt, the feeling is beginning to emerge that something else unsaid — something under the radar — is still going on, and that gun owners starting to take comfort in predictions that the House has the votes to stop any bans ought not to withdraw from the field just yet.
In fact, there’s no better time than now to once more contact legislators with unwavering expectations, and to cajole and shame others into doing the same.