The Details: Devils or Angels?
Original post made by Tom Cushing on Jan 31, 2013
[As an aside, you may wager that any vacancies that occur on the top bench -- especially any among the five-justice 2d Amendment majority, will touch-off a confirmation battle that'll make Mr. Justice Thomas'
"high-tech lynching" look like recess.]
So, what are these new provisions, the products of VP Biden's deliberations and the Prez's concurrence? Here is a listing -- first, of the Executive Orders (things that can be done within the Executive Branch, for which Congressional approval is not required), and then of the legislative proposals coming before Congress. Incidentally, the first list was drawn from the Fox News website, so you know the descriptions are fair and balanced. The NY Times supplied to second (uh-oh).
So, the question before this house is: with which of these specific proposals do you find fault, or disagree?
The Executive Orders (23)
1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
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.
3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
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.
5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
9. 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.
Guns Used in Crimes
10. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
11. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.
12. Nominate an ATF director.
13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
14. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
15. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
16. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.
Gun Violence Causation and Reporting
17. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
18. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
19. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
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 Legislative Proposals (require passage by Congress)
1. Requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales, including those by private sellers that currently are exempt.
2. Reinstating and strengthening the ban on assault weapons that was in place from 1994 to 2004.
3. Limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds.
4. Banning the possession of armor-piercing bullets by anyone other than members of the military and law enforcement.
5. Increasing criminal penalties for "straw purchasers," people who pass the required background check to buy a gun on behalf of someone else.
6. Acting on a $4 billion Administration proposal to help keep 15,000 police officers on the street.
7. Confirming President's nominee for director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives by Senate.
8. Eliminating a restriction that requires the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to allow the importation of weapons that are more than 50 years old.
9. Financing programs to train more police officers, first responders and school officials on how to respond to active armed attacks.
10. Provide additional $20 million to help expand the system that tracks violent deaths across the nation from 18 states to 50 states.
11. Providing $30 million in grants to states to help schools develop emergency response plans.
12. Providing financing to expand mental health programs for young people.
Where there appears to be overlap, that is usually because Congress needs to fund programs (like first responder training) called-for in the Executive Orders.
So that's it. Anyone feel unconstitutionally restrained by, or otherwise opposed to any of these measures? Do you feel the need for an armor-piercing bullet to protect home-and-hearth? Need an assault rifle to harvest that buck? Conversely, is there anything Not on these lists that you believe should be part of the package?
Personally (you knew I'd get here -- it's my blog, after all), this is the kind of situation where the following rule should apply (not sure from which parental unit it came, and they're beyond asking):
"You should never expect to win [the gun violence war] completely, but you are sure to lose if you do not try."
Every life that is saved through better enforcement of current laws, or greater difficulty securing more lethal weaponry, or even because a madman has to pause to reload, is precious. Incremental progress that is denominated in real lives is real progress. Put another way, when I balance these mild restrictions on gun partisans against the ongoing, daily carnage produced by our current, unmanaged system, it's a bargain that'ôs worth making.
on Jan 31, 2013 at 11:41 am
Just to clarify things a bit, Tom, the 23 "actions" that President Obama announced were not, in fact, Executive Orders. Executive Orders carry the force of law and are required to be published in the Federal Register.
Instead, President Obama issued three presidential memoranda, which directed others in the Executive Branch to take certain actions (kind of like Executive Orders, but without the formality of them). The other 20 were more like action items on a "to-do" list -- things that he planned to do or would recommend be done.
As usual, the congressional republicans' outrage was more than a little overblown, aided by their mischaracterizations of the nature of President Obama's actions.
on Jan 31, 2013 at 11:54 am
As reported last night during the NBC newscast,it is illegal to sell guns in the city of Chicago, but yet last year they had one of the highest increases in murder by guns rate of any city in the last 20 years.(Perhaps Mr.Obama's buddy, Mayor Ron Emanuel, should have spent more time working for the city that elected him Mayor, and less time getting Mr.Obama elected) One poor Chicago mother has lost all four of her children to different episodes of gun violence.
It would seem one way that perhaps liberals and conservatives would agree on to reduce gun violence, would be a surchase on all gun purchases, with those taxes specifically being used to hire more law enforcement agents to actively go out and make unnannounced visits to those on parole to search their residences to confirm there are no guns on the premises(as required by most parole orders)It is well known that most cities lack the resources to have their probation officers actively go out to check on those criminals on parole and confirm there are no guns on their premises, but yet often the same criminals do in fact have guns that are used again and again to commit crimes.
I would also think most liberals and conservatives would agree on implementing legislation that greatly increases crimes involving guns. Add another five years to every sentence that involves a gun in the commission of a crime, and put these repeat offenders behind bars where they belong.
Second Amendment does create a right to arms, but like any Amendment, there has to be some legitimare related rules and regulations.
How about the Federal Department of Education finally doing some thing worthwhile, and requiring that all public schools have a class during physical education concerning gun safety, similar to the hunter safety classes put on by Future Farmers of America, so teens learn to understand the dangers and responsibiliites pertaining to gun ownership.
Just having liberals trying to basically outlaw all guns will not solve the problems involving gun violence, as criminals will ultimately be the only ones with guns.(besides liberal politicians like Diane Feinstein who has her own permit to carry a concealed weapon) I remember Rosie O'Donnel having Tom Selleck(who is a proud member of the NRA) on her show, and she rudely and continuously ripped him, until he pointed out that it was easy for her to oppose gun ownership as she had her own bodyguards who carried weapons, unlike normal, law abiding citizens.
If you think our country is already increasingly being divided and broken, just wait till the liberals keep pushing for abolishing gun ownership. Both sides need to find a common ground, and I think my ideas noted above make a heck of alot of sense.
on Feb 1, 2013 at 7:34 am
Thanks Dave -- it takes a village to keep me/this stuff straight.
Angel, thanks for your thoughtful response -- I saw that newscast, too, and canNot imagine the pain of losing all your kids to guns -- humans aren't set-up to endure the loss of any child -- but ALL four of them??!
That situation demonstrates the many facets of gun violence -- the nation is currently focused on massacres, especially of the most-innocent -- but I doubt that mother worries much about ARs or high-capacity magazines. Urban violence is conducted more often by cheap, rudimentary Saturday Night Special handguns. I wonder how many of those could be "retired" with a $1B/year buy-back/scrap program? (e.g., 20 million guns/year @ say $50/weapon).
I'm not sure how many gun buyers want to be surcharged, but I'd go for it, just on the Econ 101 principles. And while Crim Law was never my specialty (Dave?) I think there are enhancements for crimes using guns, at least in some jurisdictions.
The one thing I'd quibble-with is this notion that Leebruls are out to take away everybody's guns. That's not how I see it -- I just think that gun owners have gotten a very free pass on a matter that can-and-does have very lethal consequences for others in our current "gun culture." I would like to see more of the burden placed on those who bring these dangerous instrumentalities into the general American environment -- to ensure against the occurrence/reduce the risk of those consequences.
Finally, does that DiFi thing really hold-up to scrutiny? She shouldn't want to ban assault weapons because she has a permit for a handgun (after watching her colleagues gunned-down at SF City Hall) -- is that it? It's a complete and unhelpful non-sequitur for me.