“Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence and Make Our Communities Safer”
President Addressing Weapon Safety: Link New Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence and Make Our Communities Safer
To me this is “mostly” a reiteration of what is already out there for law with restrictions plus some enhancements. President Obama appears to be calling for enforcement of what is already there for law. There are adders such as linking Social Security to NICS, allowing HIPAA restrictions to be viewable by NICS, additional funding for mental health, more staffing in critical areas, internet tracking, “smart-weapon” technology, etc. much of which depends upon funding by Congress. I do not see these enhancements as any more restrictive than what is in place today.
Just so you know and before you comment to this post; please recognize, I shoot bullet-spewing-weapons and I am X-military who has been to a war. Spare me the diatribe and the rant. I do not care about prying the weapon from your dead hands or your anecdotal information on who done what down the street. In my opinion doing nothing today and into the future is not going to fly forever and will only lead to something else far harsher being crammed down your and my throat later.
I believe I have captured the 4 points from President Obama’s Executive Order and the associated data below.
1. Keep guns out of the wrong hands through background checks.
– Where ever business is conducted — from a store, at gun shows, or over the Internet; if you are in the business of selling firearms, you must get a license and conduct background checks.
– No specific threshold number of firearms purchased or sold that triggers the licensure requirement.
– Even a few transactions can be sufficient to establish that a person is “engaged in the business.”
– Without the required license, subject to criminal prosecution and can be sentenced up to five years in prison and fined up to $250,000.
– Dealers are also subject to penalties for failing to conduct background checks before sales.
– 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.
– Individuals have been able to avoid the background check requirement by applying to acquire these firearms and other items through trusts, corporations, and other legal entities. The number of these applications has increased over the years — from fewer than 900 applications in the year 2000 to more than 90,000 applications in 2014.
– Sent a letter to States highlighting the importance of receiving complete criminal history.
– Overhauling the background check system to make it more effective and efficient. 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. FBI will hire ~ 230 additional examiners and other staff to help process these background checks.
2. Make our communities safer from gun violence.
– Federal prosecutors to continue to focus on smart and effective enforcement of our gun laws.
– FY2017 budget will include funding for 200 new ATF agents and investigators to help enforce our gun laws.
– Establish 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.
– Dealers who ship firearms must notify law enforcement if their guns are lost or stolen in transit.
– Encourages every U.S. Attorney’s Office to renew domestic violence outreach efforts and prohibited persons from obtaining firearms.
3. Increase mental health treatment and reporting to the background check system.
While individuals with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators, incidents of violence continue to highlight a crisis in America’s mental health system. In addition to helping people get the treatment they need, we must make sure we keep guns out of the hands of those who are prohibited by law from having them.
– Proposes a new $500 million investment to increase access to mental health care.
– Social Security Administration has indicated that it will begin the rule-making process to include information in the background check system about beneficiaries who are prohibited from possessing a firearm for mental health reasons is reported to NICS.
– Finalizes 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. The Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule expressly permitting certain HIPAA covered entities to provide to the NICS limited demographic and other necessary information about these individuals.
4. Shape the future of gun safety technology
– Directs the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security to conduct or sponsor research into gun safety technology to reduce the accidental discharge of weapons.
– Directs the departments to review the availability of smart gun technology on a regular basis, and to explore potential ways to further its use.
Like I said, most of this is old stuff which you have had to live with already. Maybe it is time to enforce it more rigorously.
This like all laws or conditions only effect those who try to live by the rules. The down side is only those who can afford a law suit may exercise their rights.
It’s like the war on drugs; little effect aside from making drugs cheaper and more dangerous to those who take them. Of course it has made prisons a growing and profitable business. But for the public it has ruined many a young person life; who may have finished his education and become a productive citizen.
“Social Security Administration has indicated that it will begin the rule-making process to include information in the background check system about beneficiaries who are prohibited from possessing a firearm for mental health reasons is reported to NICS.”
Why isn’t that reported to NICS already?
Since the Fifth Amendment clearly states that one’s being prohibited from owning a firearm must be done through “due process of law,” why are the results of that process not going to the NICS already?
Does the 5th Amendment clearly state such or was there an interpretation?
Text: “The Fifth Amendment creates a number of rights relevant to both criminal and civil legal proceedings. In criminal cases, the Fifth Amendment guarantees the right to a grand jury, forbids “double jeopardy,” and protects against self-incrimination. It also requires that “due process of law” be part of any proceeding that denies a citizen “life, liberty or property” and requires the government to compensate citizens when it takes private property for public use.”
Let me ask one of my constitutional attorney friends to join us and she can answer your question better than I can.
“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.”
Has this been a problem?
I have not found recent numbers, but “[there] were 55,544 non-fatal injuries in 2011 resulting from assaults involving guns— up from 53,738 in 2010 and 44,466 in 2009, the CDC’s database shows.” http://www.factcheck.org/2012/12/gun-rhetoric-vs-gun-facts/
So let’s assume 55,000 per year.
How many were committed using guns owned by trusts, corporations, or other legal entities?
So who has to have the background check?
Let’s say that BSA Troop 1234 wants to buy a dozen .22 rifles for their shooting camp-outs. Does every leader in that Troop need to have a background check? Technically, the sponsoring organization owns everything. Let’s say that is a Lion’s Club. Does every member of that Lion’s Club need to have a background check? Just the officers? When a new officer is elected, must he then have a background check? What if he is not legally allowed to own a firearm, can he be permitted to be an officer?
Do you believe they are problems?
“This like all laws or conditions only effect those who try to live by the rules.”
Not true. Between November 30, 1998 and December 31, 2015, 1,273,232 denials were made by the NICS system. https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/reports/federal_denials.pdf The problem is that in most of those cases, it was illegal for that person to even attempt to obtain a firearm. Not many were prosecuted.
That needs to change.
More resources for mental health research, and putting mental illness on parity with physical illness, and both Good Things.
“Why is Uncle Sam reluctant to prosecute these cases? A 2004 report from the Department of Justice’s inspector general provided several answers. It said agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms viewed the violations ‘as distracting from more important cases, such as those involving firearms, traffickers, gangs, arson and explosives” and “saw little purpose in investigating a standard case in which the NICS successfully prohibited a person from purchasing a firearm.’
The report also said that the cases lack ‘jury appeal’ for prosecutors because it is difficult to prove that a prohibited person intentionally lied on the background check and in many parts of the nation ‘juries are reluctant to convict a person who attempted to purchase a hunting rifle.'” http://www.politifact.com/virginia/statements/2013/may/01/bob-goodlatte/goodlatte-says-us-prosecutions-lying-gun-backgroun/
The 1.2 million cited is over a 17 year period and represents ~75,000/year out of ~220 million people per year. While they should be checked out; however, this gets back to providing resource which Republicans, Tea Party, and supporters have been big on cutting due to their belief “big government” is bad. You can not have it both ways. Gee I am surprised you did not trot out the 40% reduction remark presented to the “Pres” during his Town Hall.
“Enforce existing laws” has become one of the bad faith arguments in the Republican toolbox.
The executive orders that Obama wrote do exactly that – enforce existing laws. The existing statutes have room to promulgate rules and enforcement standards and procedures and that’s what the executive order has done.
On pretty much every serious issue of the day the Right’s strategy seems to offer “reasonable” claims and solutions that are completely disingenuous. Voting to repeal the ACA more than fifty times while never offering any sort of legislative proposal is simply bad faith.
When the organizing premise of one of the parties is that government simply cannot work because of some inherent flaw in the natural order it makes governing a rather difficult process generally.
Second Amendment issues get even crazier because they inspire a whole level of magical and irrational thinking connected to mythical and iconic vision of the American Individual Archetype who won the Revolution and the West. Throw in what Hofstadter called “the paranoid style” and it’s clear we can’t and won’t have a rational conversation about guns regardless of the fact that until DC v Heller the mass of jurisprudence found no individual right to firearm ownership; regardless of the fact that up until it was taken over by rejects from the John Birch Society and other political misfits in the 70’s the NRA was well on board with basic firearm regulations.
Since the human race has lived in caves one of our primary goals has been to create a social order that allows for basic rights including the right not to have to be at war with all as Hobbes put it. An armed society is not a polite society – it is simply a scared and paranoid society.
But we aren’t going to address the root causes of fear in our society. We aren’t going to address the fact that some folks have always measured political success by their ability to create a fear of “the other” or that ramping up paranoia about “law and order” or ubiquitous terrorists is a useful political tactic.
So no, regulations probably aren’t going to solve the problems associated with the widespread possession and use of firearms. At the moment all we’ve got is the ability to “enforce the existing laws” and maybe the possibility of moving the needle a bit more towards sanity. But the sad, sad fact is that the side that uses “enforce the existing laws” uses the phrase as mere diversion and distortion. The moment someone takes a slight step in the direction of “enforcing the existing laws” by closing an interpretive loophole or creating a bureaucratic definition that is well within the confines of the statute the rules change and the anger and paranoia and inflammatory bullshit gets ratcheted up because one side in this argument doesn’t want solutions or a polite society or anything much resembling a social order at all; they simply want to win.
So when I hear someone say “we don’t need more regulations, we simply need to enforce the existing laws” all I’m hearing is meaningless disingenuous posturing, the same sort of cliched word salad that lets people spew crap like “guns don’t kill people” or “the second amendment guarantees all the other amendments” which are nothing more than Orwellian Newspeak slogans at their very worst.
Run, that’s some of the lamest excuses I’ve heard for not doing their jobs. You have a crime, and you know who the perpetrator is. (He put his name on the paper.)
I like the precise wording: “NICS successfully prohibited a person from purchasing a firearm”
Not that they PREVENTED that person from OBTAINING a firearm.
We have a case where we know that a person who should not have a firearm cannot get one legally. Seems to me that person should be picked up before he obtains a firearm illegally and commits a crime with it.
“juries are reluctant to convict a person who attempted to purchase a hunting rifle”
Yeah. I’m sure all those people they decided not to prosecute were trying to buy hunting rifles.
If you read the definitions prohibited = prevented also. Did they get a bullet-spewing-weapon? No.
From 2000 onward when this came into being, Bush and company “prohibited” the actual enforcement of this law for < 1% of the people who potentially violated it. Half of the people on the list are guilty of 1 to 2 year misdemeanor violations which cuts to 50% being more serious. The failure to prosecute has carried through with Pres Obama with a Congress which has stonewalled him from day 1 or why else the Executive orders? If you want to enforce the law then you have to fund it and Obama is at least offering such. The moment someone takes a slight step in the direction of “enforcing the existing laws” by closing an interpretive loophole or creating a bureaucratic definition that is well within the confines of the statute, the rules change and the anger and paranoia and inflammatory bullshit gets ratcheted up because one side in this argument doesn’t want solutions or a polite society or anything much resembling a social order at all; they simply want to win. The first time the police drag some supposedly responsible gun owner into court for violating the law, you and the NRA would be screaming like hell. If you have never been to court and chased something up to SCOTUS, I am sure you would not realize how difficult it can be to do so and the work to prosecute besides defend. The courts are overloaded as it is, under funded because Repubs/Congress are cutting back, and the courts plea bargain the hell out of everything which is not really justice. Congress is playing games and has no real interest in supporting the stricter enforcement of the law. You offered a poltifact and I countered with the same. You want to believe yours and not believe the other. What they are saying is true. You do not know the particulars of each instance and what you are assuming is conjecture. The lady saying a 40% reduction in enforcement was more of the same disingenuous chatter.
Seriously, sending a DENIED response to the dealer should be preceded ten minutes earlier by a call to the local police department.
“If you read the definitions prohibited = prevented also. Did they get a bullet-spewing-weapon? No.”
Perhaps not at that moment, but did that person then just go buy one from his “cousin”? We don’t know. That is why local law enforcement should be informed of these denials in the moment.
“The failure to prosecute has carried through with Pres Obama with a Congress which has stonewalled him from day 1….”
The DEMOCRATIC-run Congress stonewalled him on enforcing existing law? I doubt that. In fact, the numbers do not support that assertion. In FY08, the U.S. government spent $25,574M on police services, and $16,868M on the courts. The former peaked at $29,802M in FY11, and the latter peaked at $20,547M in FY12 and again in FY15 at $21,174M.
“If you want to enforce the law then you have to fund it and Obama is at least offering such.”
Funding for police has indeed dropped since FY11, as did funding for the courts from FY12 to FY14, but since President Obama took office, neither has been below the levels of the Bush years.
“The moment someone takes a slight step in the direction of ‘enforcing the existing laws’ by closing an interpretive loophole….”
What “interpretive loophole” are you talking about?