Skip to comments.Gun Control Failed in Congress. Itís Happening Anyway.
Posted on 09/17/2013 1:24:01 PM PDT by lbryce
Gun control legislation failed loudly following the Newtown school shooting, but that has not stopped President Obama from leaving Congress behind to launch a broad gun-control campaign of his own.
Between the December 2012 massacre and the Navy Yard mass shooting Monday, Obama has taken 25 separate gun control initiatives, all of which came from executive actions that did not require congressional authorization.
The president's highest profile move was to nominate and get confirmed Todd Jones as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, filling a seat that had sat empty for more than 6 years. But Obama has also initiated a series of quieter initiatives, including new rules to keep guns away from of felons, better coordinate mental illness screenings and better preparing local law enforcement and schools to respond to shootings.
The White House readily admits its actions alone cannot solve the nation's epidemic of gun violence, but given that an expanded background check bill stalled in the Senate in April, the executive orders arefor nowObama's only available option.
"Even without Congress, my administration will keep doing everything it can to protect more of our communities," a visibly angry Obama said after the bill fell six Senate votes shy of the 60 needed to break a filibuster.
For Obama, the actions' main advantage is that they cannot be blocked by the powerful gun lobbyincluding the National Rifle Associationthat successfully stymied the president's legislative push. Down the line, the rules could be changed by a subsequent administration, or Congress could hamper their efficacy by at some point cutting the funding to enforce them. But, for now at least, Obama can move forward on them without waiting for anyone else's permission.
Most of Obama's orders are aimed at reducing administrative weaknesses that complicate the enforcement of existing gun laws, said John Hudak, a fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution.
It will be years, however, before anyone knows whether these policies have any measurable effect in reducing gun violence, Hudak said. "Because these policies were either launched in January or the conversation about them was launched in January, we certainly don't have any evidence about their effectiveness one way or another," he said.
And regardless of successful they are, the power of these initiatives to curb gun violence pales in comparison to what congressional action could accomplish, Hudak said: "These are piecemeal changes, some of them are ceremonial. There's only so much he can do without Congress. The president's hands are quite tied."
And so, even as Obama has pursued his own reforms, his administration has continually demand action from Congress. That continued Tuesday, whenin his comments on the Navy Yard mass murder in WashingtonWhite House press secretary Jay Carney lashed out at Republicans for blocking the background check bill in April.
"The problem here is not Democrats," Carney said, when pressed by reporters on the number of mass shootings in Obama's presidency. "The problem here is senators, overwhelmingly from one party, who refuse to do something very simple, which is expand the background check system that everyone believes functions well but needs to function better. It's their choice."
Five Democrats voted against the bill in April, though one of those was Majority Leader Harry Reid, who supported the measure but voted against it for procedural reasons that would allow him to bring it to the Senate floor again.
Four Republicans voted for the measure, while 42 voted against it.
Felons, Gun Imports and Mental Health
Of the administration's 25 actions, two were launched in August, including one that closes a loophole that doesn't require background checks for weapons registered under a trust or corporation. Therefore, the administration argues, felons or domestic abusers can easily gain access to these weapons. In the last year, the ATF has received more than 39,000 of these requests, and though many of those were likely for legitimate corporations, the loophole provides felons a window for obtaining firearms they wouldn't have otherwise, Hudak said. The White House is currently working on a proposed version of the new rules, which would then be subject to public comment and re-submitted as a final rule.
Another executive action the White House has since gone after is a new administration policy that would deny requests to bring American military-grade firearms back to the U.S. from other countries, with the exception of museums. Since 2005, the U.S. has authorized more than 250,000 of these weapons to come back into the country. This new policy, which the administration says will help keep these guns off the streets, has been implemented. Both of these executive actions were announced in August.
In total, the administration has moved on or finished 24 of the 25 executive actions. The only one that is pending is a new administration rule that would make group health care plans offer mental health benefits at parity with other medical and surgical benefits. The administration is expected to finalize this rule later this year.
Here are the original 23 executive actions:
THE WHITE HOUSEOffice of the Press Secretary EMBARGOED UNTIL THE START OF THE PRESIDENTS REMARKS January 16, 2013 Gun Violence Reduction Executive Actions Today, the President is announcing that he and the Administration will:1.
Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevantdata available to the federal background check system.2.
Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health InsurancePortability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from makinginformation available to the background check system.3.
Improve incentives for states to share information with the background checksystem.4.
Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited fromhaving 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 backgroundcheck on an individual before returning a seized gun.6.
Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance onhow 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 SafetyCommission).9.
Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace gunsrecovered in criminal investigations.10.
Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make itwidely available to law enforcement.11.
Nominate an ATF director.12.
Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with propertraining for active shooter situations.13.
Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.14.
Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control toresearch the causes and prevention of gun violence.15.
Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effectiveuse of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to developinnovative technologies.16.
Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patientsabout guns in their homes.17.
Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibitsthem from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.18.
Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship andinstitutions of higher education.20.
Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental healthservices that Medicaid plans must cover.21.
Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirementswithin ACA exchanges.22.
Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.23.
Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mentalhealth
Really? Gun control is taking away my guns.
I want to see that happen.
What the King wants the King gets. ICKKKKKK!
Well hell he’s been running a full on gub disarmament campaign since Newtown. Its as if someone has been recruiting thugs to go out and shoot up the place all over the U.S. Now I wonder who would do something like that?
Well hell hes been running a full on gun disarmament campaign since Newtown. Its as if someone has been recruiting thugs to go out and shoot up the place all over the U.S. Now I wonder who would do something like that?
uh..the 1900 Pennsylvania Ave. Steve Irkel?
Republic? What Republic?
Look to Colorado for the anti-gun legislators.
Dear Sitting President,
Since through U.S.C. Title Codes, Executive Orders only effect the machinery of the federal government, I have the following response for you, as an individual American.
“I refuse to acknowledge that you have placed yourself, as a tittulary Head of One, seated and acting as Divinity, above the nation’s Constitution, with all attempts to subjugate it’s citizens, by writ of Divine Right, and self-appointed (ala Napoleon) ruler of the land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave.”
“I refuse to abide by any of your decrees, that have been made published, that are outside either the U.S. Constitution, or the State of Louisiana Constitution. Should that include the usurptation of my basic right to self-preservation, again, I refuse.”
As many have said on this site!They will get my weapons bullets first !
So, they want to make sure Doctors can ask about gun ownership, all the while they have done everything they can to make sure Doctors can't ask if someone has AIDS or about their sexual proclivities.
remember that owning a gun is a pre-existing condition and must be covered by obama care
lbryce, please note that the following critique is directed against the authors of the article, Patrick Reis and Matt Vasilogambros, and not you.
Beware of constitutionally undefined terms like "executive order," and "executive action."
The Supreme Court had clarified in the case of Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, that executive orders / actions do not have the force of law if the president doesn't have the legislative support of Congress. So the idea of the Oval Office bypassing Congress concerning public policy like gun control is pure theater, undoubtedly intended to appeal to Obama's low-information voters, Obama trying to make himself look like a king making edicts.