Wednesday was a big day for Obama and gun control.
First, Obama signed 23 Executive Orders with which he intends to decrease violence. Here are my opinions on them. This is just a rough draft based on CNN’s summary until I examine the actual EOs. By the way, reports from a few days ago indicated that Obama was considering ‘up to 19 Executive Orders’. He clearly blew right past that number.
1. “Issue a presidential memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.”
Seems good. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is the instant background check system that’s used every time someone buys a gun from a gun dealer. Felons, drug addicts, and those adjucated as mentally incompetent are ineligible to purchase or possess firearms. However, the NICS only works if it has good data. If the NICS doesn’t have good data, then felons & nutcases can buy guns from a gun store because the gun dealer had no way to know the person is a felon/nutcase. Yes, it’s illegal to do that, but we’re talking about felons & crazies.
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.”
Again, this is about improving the accuracy of NICS. Good.
3. “Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.”
Again, this is about improving the accuracy of NICS. Good.
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.”
Ok, I’m not quite sure what this means, so I can’t really comment. Hopefully they don’t expand the list of prohibited persons to idiotic levels.
5. “Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.”
A FULL background check seems excessive. If we fix NICS, then NICS should be enough. But I … guess a background check of some kind makes sense. Just because a man has a gun doesn’t mean he’s allowed to have one. Make sure he’s eligible before giving his gun back. However, it doesn’t seem fair to do a full background check. How long does that take? It’s not ok to deprive someone of their defensive tool for weeks or months.
6. “Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.”
Ok, as long as the checks are voluntary, I have no complaint. Mandatory background checks on everything suck, because then a man can’t even give an old gun to his grandson without driving down to a gunshop together. Unfortunately, this is probably a first step towards that goal.
7. “Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.”
Nope, no idea what this will be like. Safety education? Sounds great. Hollywood needs a big time refresher on gun safety. Brainwashing us so we’ll support more gun control? Not cool, bro.
8. “Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).”
Um … huh? I can choose to use (or not use) any kind of lock or safe I want.
9. “Issue a presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.”
Ok, this is getting scarier. Gun control groups have often used the FBI gun tracing data to make claims about what types of guns criminals use, and where the criminals get the guns. However, not all crime guns are traced, and not all traced guns were used in crimes. Hence, it is completely impossible to draw any conclusions from the trace data. I think this is an attempt to gather support for future gun control.
10. “Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.”
I don’t know what this is about. It’s NOT a list of stolen guns so police can give them back, it’s an analysis and report. It may be another attempt to garner support for future gun control laws.
11. “Nominate an ATF director.”
The BATFE has had an ‘acting director’ for 6 years. Obama wants the acting director to become the official director. I have no idea how this is importan either way. However, I’m suspicious of ALL officials at the ATF after Fast & Furious.
12. “Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.”
HELL YES! Our definition of ‘proper training’ is probably very different, but anything is better than nothing.
13. “Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.”
Wow, imagine that, actually prosecuting criminals! I have no idea what ‘maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence’ means. That’s really vague.
14. “Issue a presidential memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.”
From what I understand: CDC was previously explicitly forbidden from doing gun violence studies. The studies they previously authored were biased towards supporting gun control.
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.”
Oh god, this could get really scary. What does this mean, smart guns & shit? There have been a lot of failed safety devices over the years. In a BEST case scenario, these locking devices make guns more expensive and complicated. In the worst case, they can disable the gun at the wrong time.Even something as simple as a rotating key lock in S&W revolvers can fail and has failed, making guns suddenly ‘lock’ and stop working. Of course, simply raising prices will decrease the number of guns people buy, and even the number of people who can afford guns. Price increases are a backdoor way to hurt us.
16. “Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.”
It’s still none of their fucking business if patients have a gun, unless the doctor has a reason to believe the patient is a danger to himself or others (such as in psychatric care). If a MD ever asks, I’ll tell ’em to shove it.
17. “Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.”
Well, I would hope that threats of violence are reported.
18. “Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.”
What is a ‘school resource officer’?
19. “Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.”
That’s a good idea. In fact, the NRA has already set up a similar organization. nraschoolshield.com
20. “Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.”
Mental health care is a good thing. Perhaps it can help address the underlying causes of some of our violence.
21. “Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.”
Again, mental health care is a good thing.
22. “Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.”
Again, mental health support is good.
23. “Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.”
More mental health support, another good idea.