I’m going to do this in real time, so you get to see my initial reaction to President Obama’s attack on the 2nd Amendment. What I’ll do is jot down, in bold text prefaced by “SK”, my reaction to each of the 23 points.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
EMBARGOED UNTIL THE START OF THE PRESIDENT’S 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 relevant data available to the federal background check system.
SK I don’t have a problem with this. I actually encourage it. Good idea.
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.
SK I also don’t have a problem with this, and again, I think it’s a good idea.
3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
SK Yet again, no problem with this and it is a smart move. I’m all for a centralized system of background checks to ensure that felons and the mentally ill are kept from owning weapons. This is the right approach as long as it is part of a program to not ban weapons but to keep them out of the hands of people who have demonstrated a likelihood of misuse. I.e., people who are not felons or mentally ill should be able to own whatever weapon they want.
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.
SK This is ok to the extent it doesn’t expand the categories to include virtually everyone. There has to be very distinct lines drawn here. You can’t have something like “anyone who has ever been in a fight is now barred from owning guns”. I think the right categories are felons and those who are mentally ill with a propensity for violence.
5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
SK This is too vague to comment on. Before I say that this is ok, I want to know what would trigger a right of law enforcement to not return a weapon. Conceptually, I have no problem with this if it is drawn up with very strict time limits and reasons for not returning weapons. But I don’t want a cop to be able to seize my weapons on some pointless pretext and then hold my weapons for years as they run “background checks” that have no real purpose. It should be something like they get 5 days to run a background check, if the check shows that I’m a felon or mentally ill with a propensity for violence the weapons can be held, otherwise, they have to be returned at the end of the 5 day period, and the police will be held accountable if they seize weapons wrongfully.
6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
SK Pointless, but harmless.
7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
SK Pointless, expensive and a total waste of time and money. But if it makes you feel better to waste money, so be it.
8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
SK This is a problem because it could be a way to make safes and gun locks so expensive and difficult to obtain that it results in an effective ban on guns. I.e., if you have to have a safe to store your guns and the government requires safes that run $10,000, that’s absolutely unacceptable. And if the government is going to try to say that you always have to have a gun in a safe or locked up, again, this is overstepping the bounds of reasonable regulation.
9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
SK Fine by me.
10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.
SK Pointless, but again, I don’t care about this.
11. Nominate an ATF director.
SK Not sure what this means.
12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.
SK Good idea. I support this.
13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
SK Way too vague. What does this mean?
14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
SK Uh….is this just a way of telling the CDC to gin up a report that will be used as the basis for undermining the 2nd amendment? I still have a problem with calling it “gun violence”. That language presupposes that the guns are the problem, and I strongly oppose anything that has this kind of built in bias.
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.
SK This is the same Attorney General that illegally sent “assault weapons” to Mexican gangs and said that people needed to be brainwashed to hate guns? No fucking way. Keep the AG out of this.
16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
SK Invasion of privacy. Then again, I don’t really care, because I lie to my doctor all the time.
17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
SK Good idea. I strongly support this. I am for anything that focuses on stopping individuals who pose a threat. Again, this has to be tied to the proposition that there will be no bans on guns generally.
18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
SK Fine, but pointless and a waste of money.
19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
SK OK, seems innocuous.
20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
SK Great idea.
21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.
SK What does this have to do with the issue of violence?
22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
SK AMEN! I am very pleased to see the focus on mental health.
23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.
SK I hate the term “national dialogue” but I like that the focus has been on mental health.
Overall, I will give President Obama credit for being uncharacteristically rational with these proposals. A lot of them are window dressing, but I think that there are a lot of good ideas.
My bottom line is this: if I’m not a felon, not mentally ill with a propensity to violence and not someone who has been identified as posing a threat to others, I should be able to own whatever gun I want. If there’s also an attempt to ban “assault weapons” or “high capacity magazines”, the proposals above are insincere and I’ll oppose them as a matter of principle.