President Obama just finished his pronouncement on his new gun control initiative. OK, I’m saying new, but let’s be honest, you don’t come up with a detailed and comprehensive program like this without having it filed away so you can bring it out, dust it off, and foist it upon us. My guess is that these have been sitting in a drawer somewhere since January 2009.
I’ll deal with the proposals he will be sending to Congress later. Here is my reaction to the 23 executive orders he signed today. My thoughts follow each one in italics.
1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system. – OK, fine. If federal agencies have relevant information for NICS, then it ought to go in. If they put in garbage that keeps an otherwise legal person from purchasing a gun, then that’s what we have lawyers for.
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. – It’s called HIPAA. You don’t get to ignore part of a law just because it’ll help your cause. See above note about lawyers.
3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system. – Read – Give my money to states so they will provide the federal government with more of my information so that they can look for an excuse for me to not buy a gun from a dealer.
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. – Read – Broaden the definition of “prohibited person” as much as you can. Go as far as the courts will let you.
5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun. – Read – It’s not your gun until we make sure you ought to have it. See above note about lawyers.
6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers. – If you are an FFL and don’t know how to do a NICS check when someone comes in and asks to do one for a private sale, please get out of the business and make sure you have someone to hold your hand before crossing the street.
7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign. This is already done by the NRA and a plethora of other organizations at the state and local level. While I agree that educating gun owners about safety is a good idea, it’s not the federal government’s job.
8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission). Not the federal government’s job, and I seem to remember that there are laws that specifically tell the CPSC to go pound sand when it comes to guns. This is why we have a marketplace with a whole bunch of people putting products in. Good, safe products sell well, crap falls out of the market.
9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations. As if gun traces will do much. “We know the gun was sold by Blastomatic Incorporated to Amalgamated Gun Distribution Incorporated, which then sold it to Jane Q. Public 17 years ago. Since then, we have no idea what she did with it.
10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement. Just what information is this supposed to provide? We already know that some guns are lost and stolen every year, and what is another ‘analysis’ and ‘report’ going to do about it?
11. Nominate an ATF director. – No kidding? It’s only been how long since you found out you were supposed to do this?
12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations. – This ought to already be out there. Heck, my company has training on what to do in an active shooter situation, and I’m a computer geek working for a transportation company.
13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime. – Honestly, I don’t have a problem with the government vigorously prosecuting crime, assuming of course that the law being enforced is constitutional. If you want to prevent ‘gun violence’, or unnecessary violence of any kind, why don’t you stop encouraging behavior that destroys families, thereby destroying the institution that teaches people how to act right?
14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence. – Aren’t there laws against using government funds to do this?
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. – See above note about the marketplace. Watch for this to sprout yet another round of calls for microstamping and ‘smart’ guns.
16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes. – Hey doc! Want to know the fastest way to get fired from providing medical care to my family? Ask about stuff that has absolutely no bearing on our health and is none of your bloody business!
17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities. – No kidding. Doctors don’t know that if someone is threatening violence against themselves or someone else that they ought to notify someone? Of course, my first pick would be a mental health professional rather than a cop.
18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers. – Right, because a glorified security guard sitting in the basement of my daughter’s high school is going to do much more than write a report when he has to hustle his butt up to the third floor if little Timmy decides he wants to bust a cap in someone’s ass. You can’t hire enough cops to deal with this.
19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education. – No kidding. If these places don’t already have them, they ought to be ashamed.
20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover. — Right, because a stern note to Medicaid administrators is going to actually accomplish something when they’re trying to figure out what to do with all the people they’re already taking care of.
21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges. – In other words, do what the law told you to do three years ago.
22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations. – See above note about doing what the law tells you to do.
23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health. – Here’s your dialogue: Feel like you can’t control yourself? Get help. Can’t afford it? Get help somewhere that’s free or low-cost. Want to keep people, especially veterans who need help dealing with what they ‘ve been through from seeking help? Then have what they say and do to get better used as a weapon to restrict them and stigmatize them for the rest of their lives.
So there you have it. None of these actions would have stopped Sandy Hook, Aurora, Tucson, Virginia Tech, or the heartbreak of psoriasis. Obama had to show that he was in charge and doing something, if for no other reason than he didn’t get enough hugs as a kid and needs the affirmation of the fawning media and leftist sheep ( but I repeat myself), so he used children as a backdrop while he signed these meaningless and ineffective orders.
I guess it could have been worse. I honestly can’t believe he didn’t mess with imports of ammunition, guns, and magazines. I also expected him to decree that the ATF would be doing more and more rigorous inspections of FFL’s in an effort to push some of them out of business. I also wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d ordered a moratorium on new FFL’s.
Anyway, it sucks, but it could have been worse. Now comes the fights in the courts, Congress, and the legislatures. The President has shot his bolt, and it was pretty weak tea. Now let’s focus on the important part of this.