While only three are actually “executive orders,” all of what Obama spewed forth last week is troubling, if not outright illegal. Without further ado, let’s just get to it:
1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
What “relevant data” does Obama want released? Does this include any sort of data currently protected under HIPPA? Would this allow the federal background check system to deny a firearm permit on the basis of certain medications? What about diagnoses? Would a permit be denied for a simple mental health visit?
The problem with the first of Obama’s edicts is that it’s nebulous. If acted on without regard to the Constitution and its amendments, countless rights violations would ensue.
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.
These “barriers” as Obama calls them, aren’t barriers at all. They’re protections, specifically built into the system to protect the rights and the privacy of all citizens. Attempting an end-run around them is unconstitutional.
3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
The current background check system allows states the option of conducting their own checks or using the FBI’s system. As the FBI’s system does not meet the the privacy requirements of our State Constitution and its Statutes, our State conducts its own background checks.
This recommendation is nothing more than Obama’s way of back-dooring national gun registration, a step which historically has always lead to firearms confiscation, then oppression of the people by an ever-growing federal government.
This idea is utterly abhorrent to everyone who has fought for the rights and freedoms we enjoy today. It directly violates both the spirit and intention of the Second Amendment, the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, and the Tenth Amendment’s limit on the powers of the federal government.
Put simply, it’s un-Constitutional. Even suggesting it violates Obama’s oath of office to support and defend the Constitution. Any support of it would violate the oath of office of any civilian, military, or law-enforcement officer.
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.
This is a slippery slope upon which we must not step foot. It’s the same slope used (rather, abused) by the Nazis to identify, then incarcerate “persons of interest,” those whom the government considers “dangerous.” Dangerous to whom? To others? Or to the government? Once this line is crossed, it only gets worse, until the feds will have rounded up every “dissident” simply for standing up for their Constitutional rights.
5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
Was the gun seized legally? If not, this is a wide-open door to violate a person’s rights under the Fourth Amendment. Law enforcement already has the authority to temporarily seize a firearm during routine traffic stops, along with the authority to run plates and a driver’s license. How does that differ from a “full background check?” If a person holds a concealed weapons permit, they’ve already had a “full background check.”
Furthermore, how long is this “full background check” going to take? A week? Ninety days? If so, this is nothing more than an excuse to deprive an individual the right to keep and bear arms.
6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
There is currently no requirement for private sales to involve background checks. Making it a requirement will have absolutely zero effect on illegal gun sales (sales to criminals) while imposing an expensive and unnecessary burden on law-abiding citizens. A similar argument could be made about sales from gun stores.
7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
The NRA’s Eddie Eagle Gun Safety programs have resulted in sharp declines in firearms accidents
among children. As it is, the CDC’s reports indicates some very interesting results. They’re interesting because they indicate the death rate due to firearms is exceptionally low. It’s so low, in fact, that it doesn’t even appear on the CDC’s top 15 list. For example, in 2010, total deaths by firearms came to 1.24% of the total for all ages, and just 0.25% of the total for those aged 1-14 years.
The fifteen leading causes of death are: Diseases of the heart, malignant neoplasms, chronic lower respiratory diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, accidents (unintentional – includes motor vehicle crashes), alzheimer’s, diabetes melittus, nephritis and nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis, influenza and pneumonia, intentional self-harm (suicide), septicemia, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, essential hypertension and hypertensive renal disease, parkinson’s, and pneumonitis due to solids and liquids (choking). Even this last comes in at 5.5 per 100,000, which is nearly double that of homicide by firearm.
8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
Firearms which must be locked up until needed are rarely accessible in a timely manner. They’re next to useless in stopping home invasions, much less armed robberies. They’re about as useless as seat belts which remain unfastened, or life jackets which remain in storage, which is why nearly all state and federal laws require seat belts to be fastened and life jackets to be worn.
Obviously, leaving a firearm unattended not appropriate, particularly around children. However, the proper place for a firearm is in its holster, worn on one’s person. For those of us who live alone, however, any requirement to keep it locked up puts us at risk of not being able to defend ourselves, and is unacceptable.
9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
This is yet another back-door attempt at gun registration, without which such “tracing” would be impossible.
10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.
I sincerely hope the first such firearms to be analyzed will be those lost and stolen guns from Operation Fast and Furious. If not, if the DoJ is incapable of keeping track of their own firearms, it’s unreasonable to ask them to analyze information on the lost and stolen guns of others.
11. Nominate an ATF director.
When compared to their budget, the ATF has a dismal record. It currently costs them approximately $115,000 for each and every person they recommend for federal prosecution for firearms possession just through the Project Safe Neighborhoods framework. Many of those recommended for prosecution are never convicted.
Besides, B. Todd Jones, the acting director of the ATF, has already been nominated for the permanent position, subject to Senate approval, of course.
12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.
Law enforcement, first responders, and school officials already have proper training for active shooter situations.
13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
This is so nebulous its not even worth addressing, except to note that the most effective means of preventing gun violence is to relax gun control laws.
14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
This was done during an earlier Democratic administration, and the answer wasn’t what was expected. Basically, the three-year study published its findings in a 800+ page report which concluded that no amount of gun control legislation has ever had a positive impact on gun violence. Instead, it found that that the most effective means of preventing gun violence is to relax gun control laws, to make it easier for law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.
Basically, it supports the wisdom that infringement on the right to keep and bear arms is a causative factor in increasing gun violence. As for the other factors, suicide by firearm (0.79%) is nearly twice the rate of homicide by firearm (0.45%). Even so, twice as many suicides are committed by means other than firearms, and the report stated that suicide by firearms has dropped while total suicides have remained steady on a per-capita basis.
As for firearms homicides, no study is required to determine that there are three reasons: Greed (robbery), hate (crimes of passion), and the least likely causal factor, mental instability/insanity.
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.
There is no “magic pill” with respect to firearms safety, and reliance on such technology diminishes the most effective safety protocol: Human. Jeff Cooper advocated four simple rules of firearms safety which, if followed, would eliminate nearly all firearms accidental deaths and injuries, and without any need for expensive gadgets which ironically tend to get in the way of the safe and effective operation of a firearm.
16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
My Second Amendment rights are none of my doctor’s 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.
Health care providers are not qualified to determine what constitutes a credible threat against a law enforcement authority. Only sworn law enforcement officers and certain types of mental health care providers have the requisite training, and current law already allows for such reporting.
18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
That’s up to the States and the school districts. However, the best incentive is protection of the children.
19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
While this is indeed a good idea, the critical fact which must be remembered is that the only effective way to stop a shooter is to shoot them. Attempts at tackling a shooter usually winds up with the tacklers seriously injured or killed. Tasers are ineffective against an armed gunman due to their very limited range. The fact remains that more shooting sprees are stopped by citizens than by law enforcement, and more than 2/3 of the time that’s accomplished by armed citizens.
Another critical fact is that so-called “gun free zones” don’t work. They’re a magnet for those who commit shooting sprees. Only a known armed force will deter such shooters. More than a month ago I outlined a plan for the screening and selection of a small group of armed teachers for each school.
20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.
22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.
The last four recommendations, along with a few others, delve nebulously into mental health. Without clearer, better-defined terms, however, along with restrictions protecting and respecting all existing Constitutional rights, including those provided by the various State Constitutions.
Right now, Obama’s recommendations make no such promises or provisions, which is why so many sheriffs around the country have lined up to oppose it.