Obama followed through with a bunch of executive orders regarding gun control. Before we go through each of them, I have some general comments.
First, recognize that the Executive is undermining the legislative process with executive orders. Some of the orders are fine and within his power. Some of them should clearly come from the Congress through the normal legislative process as dictated by the constitution. It’s a usurpation of the power of another branch of government, but the members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have come to put their political party over and above the pride and power of the institution in which they serve.
Second, overall, the orders aren’t as bad as expected. Some of them are just fine and sensible. Some of them are useless. But the really heavy lifting is up to Congress where representative government and the legislative process can work.
Third, bear in mind that absolutely nothing Obama signed would have prevented Sandy Hook - the supposed impetus for this action.
With that said, let’s take a look:
1. “Issue a presidential memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.”
Ooooo… a memo. It’s nebulous, but seems harmless. One would hope this was happening already.
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.”
This one, in combination with a couple of the other orders, it troubling. HIPPA is meant to protect a patient’s privacy. It forbids a health care provider from sharing your information with someone else without your written permission. This sounds like it would let health care providers send individual health care information, like mental exam results and whether or not you own a firearm (later orders open it up for health care providers to ask patients if they have a firearm), to a national background check database. Essentially, it’s allowing states to ignore your medical privacy in lieu of putting more information into the background check system.
3. “Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.”
More spending (that’s what “incentives” means) pumped to states to help with order #2.
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 will depend on what the review turns up. There’s certainly nothing wrong with reviewing.
5. “Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.”
The problem with this one is with the term “seized.” If a gun is seized in the commission of a crime, then I have no problem with this. But officiers are also allowed to seize the weapon of a concealed carry holder during something routine. For example, if I get pulled over for speeding, the officer is within his authority to seize my weapon while he issues the ticket even though the weapon was not being used for a crime. It is not acceptable for the officer to then hold my weapon for days to run a background check before returning the weapon. It should be returned when we part ways.
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.”
Harmless, but yet more spending.
8. “Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).”
Again, a review is fine. But if they issue ridiculous requirements for the manufacture of safes and locks ans drive up the prices, we’ll see fewer people using them.
9. “Issue a presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.”
This is fine, but utterly ironic in light of Fast and Furious.
10. “Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.”
11. “Nominate an ATF director.”
Ummm… isn’t he supposed to do this anyway? Why the need for an order for something he should have done alreasy? Whatever.
12. “Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.”
Fine. More spending and most law enforcment and first responders already get this training.
13. “Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.”
Good! Prosecute gun crimes. I’m all for that.
14. “Issue a presidential memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.”
This is preparing for future gun control laws. Once they identify the “cause,” then there will be a push for more “fixes.” Somehow I doubt that the CDC will conclude that the cause of gun violence is bad people.
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.”
Oooo.. a report and a challenge!
16. “Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.”
You knew Obamacare would worm its way into this. This goes in conjunction with #2. Obama is pushing to have doctors ask patients if they have guns in their homes and then provide that information back to the national database. This will aid the federal government in developing a database of every American who has a gun in their home. Gee… I wonder what that information could be used for. If you are a gun owner, I encourage you to refuse to answer if a doctor asks you if you have a gun in your home. It’s not related to your medical condition and it’s none of their business. If a doctor ever asks me that, it’ll be the last time they see me.
17. “Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.”
This is fine. If there’s an active threat of violence, I would hope that a health care provider informs the police.
18. “Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.”
More money for schools.
19. “Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.”
That’s fine. Most of these institutions already have these plans, but it never hurts to get new ideas. Of course, it’s more federal spending.
20. “Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.”
One would hope that was already clear.
21. “Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.”
Back to Obamacare. Funny how Obama is using the gun issue to advance Obamacare regulations, eh?
22. “Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.”
Well, at least we’re committed now.
23. “Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.”
Yes. Let’s have a dialogue. OK.
I largely think Koffler is right.
A president, especially one of limited popularity like Obama, cannot do too many big things. And what Obama really wants to do is grant amnesty to America’s illegal immigrants and win the budget battles with Congress – the latter to ensure federal spending doesn’t dip and taxes continue to go up.
The gun issue is merely an inconvenience that the White House quickly moved out of the way with a commission and today’s gun control announcement. Going forward, I doubt you will hear much about the issue, and I don’t think there will be much done on Capitol Hill.
That’s why, for example, Obama’s press conference this week was scheduled for Monday instead of Thursday, the day after the gun announcement, when he could have given the proposals maximum publicity. He wanted to use the press conference to talk about the budget, not guns.
While I think there will be some new gun laws, some of which are clearly unconstitutional (not even just the 2nd… try the 4th too…), passed in states like New York and Obama will do some more damage to our rights with Executive Orders, I still don’t anticipate large movement on this issue. It is still our duty to fight more infringments on our rights tooth and nail, but let’s not lose sight of Obama’s desire to spend this country into oblivion.
Americans are borrowing against their 401(k) to pay for non-retirement needs such as mortgages, credit card debt or college tuition, according to a new study from financial advisory firm HelloWallet. That amounts for more than $70 billion in annual withdrawals.
In 2006. What a raging hypocrite.
The fact that we’re here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. Leadership means ‘The buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.
Obama treats his supporters like idiots. He may be right.
The White House has informed House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that it will miss the legal deadline for sending a budget to Congress.
Acting Budget Director Jeff Zients told Ryan in a letter delivered Friday that the budget will not be delivered by Feb. 4, as required by law.
Ryan’s office says that Obama has missed the budget deadline more than any president since the 1920s. Obama’s first budget was delayed until May, while his second budget was delivered on time. The last two budgets were late but came in February.
I wasn’t able to listen to Governor Walker’s State of the State last night, but I this was perhaps the most important initiative that may come out of this session.
That includes how he plans to create incentives for high performing and rapidly improving schools, while helping failing schools improve. He said his goal is to help each school excel so every child has access to a great education.
“As a parent it’s moral imperative, and as you governor, it’s an economic imperative,” Walker said.
Walker’s call to expand education opportunities came on the heels of a poll released by the conservative Education Action Group, based in Michigan. The poll found 61 percent of likely voters polled supported expanding school choice “to allow every Wisconsin child to attend the public or private, including religious schools, of their choice.”
“Every child should have access to a great education,” Walker said. “We continue to expand the number of choices for families in Wisconsin—be it a traditional, a charter, a voucher, a virtual, or a home school environment. Moving forward, we want to continue to dramatically improve existing schools and give parents the opportunity to choose legitimate alternatives to failing schools.”
Perhaps, but fun to think about.
Nick Saban and his staff must feel good about their national championship run, but they better not celebrate for too long because Kevin Sumlin’s getting his Aggies prepared to officially take over the SEC in the 2013 season.