Obama signs 23 executive orders, demands $4.5 billion in new spending on gun control
President also launches campaign to force Congress to renew the ban on so-called "assault weapons" and standard capacity ammunition magazines
[UPDATE: According to multiple sources, the President did not, as was widely reported, sign executive orders, but rather executive actions and presidential memoranda.]
by Chad D. Baus
The Weekly Standard is reporting that the proposals President Obama and Vice President Biden are putting in place in the wake of the horrific events in Newtown, CT contains a mix of executive actions, regulations, and calls for Congress to act legislatively.
The total package, which includes forcing the taxpayers to foot the bill for anti-gun rights research, will cost at least $4.5 billion in new spending.
From the article:
Among the new spending the president proposed:
• $4 billion for the president's proposal "to help keep 15,000 cops on the streets in cities and towns across the country." (That is roughly $266,000 per police officer.)
• $20 million to "give states stronger incentives to make [relevant] data available [for background checks] … "$50 million for this purpose in FY2014"
• "$14 million to help train 14,000 more police officers and other public and private personnel to respond to active shooter situations."
• "$10 million for the Centers for Disease Control to conduct further research, including investigating the relationship between video games, media images, and violence."
• $20 million to expand the National Violent Death Reporting System.
• $150 million to "put up to 1,000 new school resource officers and school counselors on the job."
• "$30 million of one-time grants to states to help their school districts develop and implement emergency management plans."
• $50 million to help 8,000 schools "create safer and more nurturing school climates."
• $15 million to "provide 'Mental Health First Aid' training for teachers."
• $40 million for school districts to "work with law enforcement, mental health agencies, and other local organizations to assure students with mental health issues or other behavioral issues are referred to the services they need."
• $25 million for state-based strategies that support "young people ages 16 to 25 with mental health or substance abuse issues."
• $25 million to "offer students mental health services for trauma or anxiety, conflict resolution programs, and other school-based violence prevention strategies."
• $50 million to "train social workers, counselors, psychologists, and other mental health professionals."
Among the executive actions signed are directions instructing doctors on how to inquire about the guns their patients have in their homes and how to report threats of violence to law enforcement, reports on so-called "smart gun" technology, funding for anti-gun rights research and more.
The entire list of the actions Mr. Obama is taking is provided by the The Washington Times:
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 rule-making 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. Issue a presidential memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
10. Release a Department of Justice report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.
11. Nominate a new director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
12. Provide law enforcement, first-responders, and school officials with proper training 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 and Prevention to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
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.
16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors from asking their patients about guns in their homes.
17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school-resource officers.
19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
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 Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Education Secretary Arne Duncan on mental health.
As it is with most things in federal government, the devil will be found in the details of these new orders.
Until those details are revealed, here are a few notes to consider:
1) Every piece of federal legislation introduced since at least 2004, dealing with "background checks" has actually been a bill to abolish gun shows, and have had little to nothing to do with background checks. These draconian proposals have included making every gun show vendor registered 30+ days in advance (even the hotdog vendor?), providing reports back to ATF about all the gun transactions, etc. The proposals have always amounted to gun registration and killing gun shows. Never have they talked about just background checks, so why should gun owners listen?
2) President Clinton, as part of the original gun control push in the early '90s, decimated the ranks of Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) trying to renew - by 2003 the number of FFLs was down to 23% of what had been. If you want background checks, why eliminate the people required to perform them? Bottom line - it was "gun control" under Clinton that caused a large number of sellers at gun shows to suddenly be unable to run background checks.
3) Gun ban extremists keep throwing around a statistic claiming that 40% of guns sales happen without a background check. But where does anyone keep track of non-background check sales? Nowhere. This statistic is nothing but a guess - made to sound scary so it will play well in the media.
If we get to the point of having universal background checks, we should be able to protect our children in New York, Maryland, CT, CA, etc. etc. There could be no possible objection to us carrying a gun in those states now, right?
Why do the gun ban extremists think that it would somehow be more acceptable to have children murdered if killer has to reload 3 or 4 times (which the Connecticut killer did)?
So-called "Assault" Weapons Bans
We've tried every version of this. These bans did nothing to prevent Columbine, Jonesboro, Paducah, Newtown, or many others. At what point do we get to say that this dog don't hunt?
We have another name for them: "Designated targets." 1,000 doesn't even cover half of Ohio, and these jobs have been and will be the first to go when budgets are cut.
"Gun violence" research
There is no such thing as gun violence. There is only violence. Instead of using taxpayer money on one-sided research intentionally designed to provide talking points for gun ban proponents, this money would be much better spent researching the effects of violent media on mental health, etc.
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.
FLASHBACK 2009: Will Health Care Reform Regulate Guns?
UPDATE: More of the President's gun control agenda is contained in a list he sent to Congress:
Require criminal background checks for all gun sales.
Reinstate and strengthen the assault weapons ban.
Restore the 10-round limit on ammunition magazines.
Protect police by finishing the job of getting rid of armor-piercing bullets.
Give law enforcement additional tools to prevent and prosecute gun crime.
End the freeze on gun violence research.
Columbus Dispatch - Reactions to Obama’s gun-violence plan push toward extremes
Many gun owners would have supported universal background checks before now, but the bills that seemed to call for them always were drafted with ulterior motives, said Ken Hanson, legal chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association.
"It has very little to do with background checks, and it has everything to do with shutting down gun shows," he said.
He said the assault-style-weapons ban that expired in 2004 did not reduce crime. And having to reload more often won't stop a deranged killer, he said.
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