President Obama and his crackpot team of anti-gun policy wonks unveiled a list of executive actions Monday aimed at foisting gun control on the American people without the consent of Congress.
Obama argued that list of orders, set to roll out in the near future, all fit within the purview of his power as president.
“The good news is these are not only recommendations that are well within my legal authority and the executive branch, but they’re also ones that the overwhelming majority of the American people, including gun owners, support and believe in,” said Obama from the Oval Office.
What’s on the list?
What’s on the list? Well, here is how it is succinctly pitched on WhiteHouse.gov:
Keep guns out of the wrong hands through background checks
- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is making clear that it doesn’t matter where you conduct your business—from a store, at gun shows, or over the Internet: If you’re in the business of selling firearms, you must get a license and conduct background checks.
- ATF is finalizing a rule to require background checks for people trying to buy some of the most dangerous weapons and other items through a trust, corporation, or other legal entity.
- Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch has sent a letter to States highlighting the importance of receiving complete criminal history records and criminal dispositions, information on persons disqualified because of a mental illness, and qualifying crimes of domestic violence.
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is overhauling the background check system to make it more effective and efficient. The envisioned improvements include processing background checks 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and improving notification of local authorities when certain prohibited persons unlawfully attempt to buy a gun. The FBI will hire more than 230 additional examiners and other staff to help process these background checks.
Make our communities safer from gun violence
- The Attorney General convened a call with U.S. Attorneys around the country to direct federal prosecutors to continue to focus on smart and effective enforcement of our gun laws.
- The President’s FY2017 budget will include funding for 200 new ATF agents and investigators to help enforce our gun laws.
- ATF has established an Internet Investigation Center to track illegal online firearms trafficking and is dedicating $4 million and additional personnel to enhance the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network.
- ATF is finalizing a rule to ensure that dealers who ship firearms notify law enforcement if their guns are lost or stolen in transit.
- The Attorney General issued a memo encouraging every U.S. Attorney’s Office to renew domestic violence outreach efforts.
Increase mental health treatment and reporting to the background check system
- The Administration is proposing a new $500 million investment to increase access to mental health care.
- The Social Security Administration has indicated that it will begin the rulemaking process to include information in the background check system about beneficiaries who are prohibited from possessing a firearm for mental health reasons.
- The Department of Health and Human Services is finalizing a rule to remove unnecessary legal barriers preventing States from reporting relevant information about people prohibited from possessing a gun for specific mental health reasons.
Shape the future of gun safety technology
- The President has directed the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security to conduct or sponsor research into gun safety technology
- The President has also directed the departments to review the availability of smart gun technology on a regular basis, and to explore potential ways to further its use and development to more broadly improve gun safety.
What it actually means for us…
It goes without saying but there is a lot more to this than meets the eye. Sure, some of it is innocuous, feel-good B.S. meant to appease the Bloomberg machine and satisfy Obama’s desire to have a legacy as a gun-grabbing president. But other parts of it have real teeth, and could create serious problems for hobbyists, collectors, enthusiasts — basically, people like you and me.
Below are some of the primary concerns.
“Engaged in the business”
One of the biggest concerns is the focus on gun sellers “engaged in the business,” which has traditionally meant FFLs or gun dealers. Obama is looking to broaden that criteria to include almost anyone so that everyone who sells a gun at a gun show or over the Internet might be required to obtain a license. It’s a way to criminalize what is now common practice.
Consider the language from this White House Fact Sheet, “There is no specific threshold number of firearms purchased or sold that triggers the licensure requirement. But it is important to note that even a few transactions, when combined with other evidence, can be sufficient to establish that a person is “engaged in the business.’”
It goes on to state that “courts have upheld convictions for dealing without a license when as few as two firearms were sold or when only one or two transactions took place, when other factors also were present.”
The real kisser is the penalty for selling firearms without a license, which includes a sentence of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Ostensibly, Obama’s plan is to ensure more buyers are undergoing background checks, which licensed sellers are required by law to perform. Yet, one can’t help but to see the nefarious side to this, that is he is mandating that all gun sellers obtain a license. In short, he wants everyone to go through the red tape to become a dealer.
Who is simply trying to sell some guns? Who is actually “engaged in the business of selling firearms”? These are questions which used to have relatively clear answers. On one hand you had hobbyists, collectors, and enthusiasts and then on the other you had brick and mortar gun shops, licensed gun dealers. Now, it’s up to Obama’s minions at the ATF to determine on a case by case basis. Basically, they’ve cleared the way to go after individuals who frequently buy, trade, sell firearms — even if it’s not for profit.
But there is way more to this story. To get the entire story, check out this article: “Can I still Sell My Guns Online? — Executive Action Fear Porn.”
Certain Social Security beneficiaries may lose gun rights
Under the mental health aspect of the orders, certain Social Security beneficiaries may lose their right to keep and bear arms. Language from the website states the following:
Current law prohibits individuals from buying a gun if, because of a mental health issue, they are either a danger to themselves or others or are unable to manage their own affairs. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has indicated that it will begin the rulemaking process to ensure that appropriate information in its records is reported to NICS. The reporting that SSA, in consultation with the Department of Justice, is expected to require will cover appropriate records of the approximately 75,000 people each year who have a documented mental health issue, receive disability benefits, and are unable to manage those benefits because of their mental impairment, or who have been found by a state or federal court to be legally incompetent. The rulemaking will also provide a mechanism for people to seek relief from the federal prohibition on possessing a firearm for reasons related to mental health.
Suppose one becomes the representative payee for one’s elderly father. Not because the father is a mental defective but because he is just getting old and doesn’t want to be bothered with the day-to-day drudgery of paying bills, preparing taxes, managing finances, etc. The question is whether that father will also forfeit his right to own a firearm?
Now, there have been efforts to protect SS beneficiaries. Back in September, Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-Texas) introduced a bill called the Social Security Beneficiary Second Amendment Rights Protection Act that would ensure that those law-abiding SS recipients retain their right to keep and bear arms. However, until it becomes law, it appears as though certain SS recipients are in danger of losing their 2A rights.
ATF gets a boost
Another troubling order includes Obama’s call to beef up the ATF. Let’s be straight about this, the ATF is a corrupt organization. Between running guns into Mexico via Operation Fast and Furious and exploiting mentally challenged people in dubious operations in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the agency has over the years earned a reputation of being criminally dysfunctional. To give the ATF more resources and manpower is not only foolish, it’s dangerous. And undoubtedly gun owners and gun dealers will bear the brunt of that mistake.
One immediate manifestation of this is the rule to “ensure that dealers who ship firearms notify law enforcement if their guns are lost or stolen in transit.” Scrupulous gun dealers already do this. The rule will simply make it easier for the ATF to prosecute gun dealers who don’t comply within a certain timeframe or who make an honest mistake along the way.
Smart gun, dumb idea
Lastly, one should be wary of the move to “research” smart gun technology. This is a job for the free market — not for the government. As we’ve seen in New Jersey, when the government gets involved in smart guns it’s typically done to do one thing and one thing only: mandate that gun shops sell them exclusively.
The GOP slammed Obama for attacking the Second Amendment. Rightfully so. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said that the president was “subverting the legislative branch, and potentially overturning its will.”
“No president should be able to reverse legislative failure by executive fiat, not even incrementally,” wrote Ryan, adding, “The American people deserve a president who will respect their constitutional rights – all of them.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also weighed in on the executive orders, calling Obama a “petulant child” who wants to “act as if he’s a king, as if he’s a dictator.”
The nation’s gun lobby was also quick to criticize Obama and his lackeys.
“The proposed executive actions are ripe for abuse by the Obama Administration, which has made no secret of its contempt for the Second Amendment,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action.
“The NRA will continue to fight to protect the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed under our Constitution,” he continued. “We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to become scapegoats for President Obama’s failed policies.”
What can be done by a president can be undone by Congress or the courts. Hopefully, GOP lawmakers are working hard right now to come up with a legislative response to Obama’s executive actions. If something is not done to counter this assault, law-abiding gun owners and gun dealers will increasingly find themselves in the crosshairs of the federal government.
Our Constitution is clear that our right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. That decree includes the courts, Congress, and a power-hungry president.