It’s no secret that president Obama is angling to pass tougher gun regulations via executive order following the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. White House press secretary Josh Earnest admitted as much in a press briefing Monday.
“It’s a high priority and will continue to be until we start to see more progress on this issue in this town,” said Earnest, referencing the standstill in Congress on the issue of gun control. Earnest declined to say what specifically the White House was looking to enact without the consent and approval of the House and Senate, but he did say that they’re reviewing their options.
“I can tell you that they’re not stumped, they’re continuing to review the law that’s on the books and continuing to consult with legal authorities but also others who may have ideas about what steps that can be taken to keep guns out of the hands of criminals,” Earnest said.
Well, to give Obama some ideas as to what he can do, Everytown for Gun Safety released a report entitled, “Beyond Gridlock: How White House Action on Gun Violence Can Save Lives,” that puts forward five “live-saving steps” the Obama administration can advance sans Congressional action.
“The president rightfully asked what he could do to prevent gun violence tragedies – our recommendations answer that call,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety.
“The White House can take steps today to keep dangerous people with guns out of our schools, to keep convicted domestic abusers from possessing guns, to crack down on trafficking and to help federal law enforcement and states enforce the laws on the books that keep criminals from getting guns,” explained Feinblatt. “There has been significant progress at the state level and we know the president is serious about taking action – but Congress must step up too and do its part to prevent gun violence. American lives are on the line.”
In brief, here are the five recommendations:
- Issue guidance to ensure that dangerous people are not permitted to carry guns within 1,000 feet of a school;
- Issue a regulation clarifying that high-volume gun sellers are “engaged in the business” of dealing firearms and must obtain dealer licenses and comply with applicable laws, including conducting background checks on all gun sales;
- Instruct federal law enforcement to identify and arrest dangerous criminals who try to buy illegal guns, and to notify and work with state and local authorities when these illegal purchases are attempted;
- Assist states in enforcing their existing background check laws by publishing aggregate background check denial data for guns sold by unlicensed sellers; and
- Protect victims of domestic abuse by clarifying that convicted abusers are prohibited from having guns regardless of marital status.
To be honest, some of these don’t sound so bad (a domestic abuser is a domestic abuser, regardless of their marital status; increase efforts to crackdown on prohibited persons who attempt to buy firearms). Yet, the fact that it’s coming from Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety, one can’t help but to be skeptical because of the larger agenda in play, which is Bloomberg’s quest to Europeanize the Second Amendment.
Make no mistake about it, Bloomberg wants to gut our right to keep and bear arms. The billionaire business magnate favors bans on commonly owned and widely popular firearms as well as registration schemes and other onerous provisions that would make gun ownership a burden and turn gun owners into public pariahs. That’s clear. So, any “gun violence plan” that comes from Bloomberg has to be seen in that context.
Of course, there is the other obvious objection which is that none of these provisions would have prevented the mass shooting in Oregon. Though it’s been said 1,000 times before it bears repeating, mass shootings are a manifestation of inadequate mental health treatment, not lax gun laws. In this case, the perpetrator struggled with Asperger’s syndrome and other “psychological problems.” He also did not take his medication on a regular basis. Here is an exchange that a woman, Alexis Jefferson, had with the murderer’s mother prior to the shooting, reports the New York Times.
“She said that ‘my son is a real big problem of mine,’ ” Ms. Jefferson said in a telephone interview. “She said: ‘He has some psychological problems. Sometimes he takes his medication, sometimes he doesn’t. And that’s where the big problem is, when he doesn’t take his medication.’ ”
Once again a troubled young man kills innocent people and instead of focusing on how to help more troubled young men we are focusing on passing more laws to prevent folks from owning certain pieces of hardware. It should be apparent, but that’s putting the emphasis where it doesn’t belong. If we want to save more lives, we need to start by saving more people, that is, getting broken people the mental treatment they need. That’s the optimal way to reduce violence. When it comes to other types of violence we seem to understand this. For example, we’ve lowered vehicular deaths by targeting drunk drivers and alcoholics — not by banning SUVs or sports cars. It’s time we start applying the same logic to mass killings.