Here is a link to details on the new Obama Executive Orders. (Thanks to member Joseph Gunter for the link): https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/01/04/fact-sheet-new-executive-actions-reduce-gun-violence-and-make-our
Before I begin my analysis, I’d like to point out that the number the President uses for deaths caused by the use (or misuse) of a firearm includes suicides (much more than half of the total) and lawful self-defense shootings by citizens and police. Should suicide and lawful self-defense be considered “gun violence?” No.
Much of the Executive Orders (EOs) really don’t change anything, but try to put a menacing or intimidating spin on them. Others simply double-down on existing enforcement (yawn), some are bad, and one VCDL likes. Here is what they really do (or don’t do).
1. A dealer who sells guns exclusively over the internet or at gun shows is still a dealer and needs to have a license and do background checks. This is a “yawn” as it is simply restating current law and how it has always been enforced. Net effect: zero.
2. There is no specific threshold on the number of guns sold, as to what makes you a dealer. That has always been true. The BATFE takes into consideration several factors in determining if you are just a person selling a few items from your private collection or if you are trying to earn a living, or part of a living, by buying and selling guns. Here Obama tries to scare gun owners by saying that someone had been found to be in the business of selling firearms “when as few as two firearms were sold or when only one or two transactions took place, WHEN OTHER FACTORS ALSO WERE PRESENT” (emphasis mine). Here he’s obviously found some obscure cases that must have had some unusual “other factors” that made it clear the person was actually selling guns for a living, even with a small number of sales. This EO is implying that BATFE might be looking harder at people who sell guns regularly to make sure they are not really “in the business.” Other than trying to scare people by also pointing out the penalties for being in the business without a license, I don’t see this as changing the status quo on private sales at all. Net effect: zero, but meant to intimidate people into not doing any private sales.
3. Requiring everyone in an NFA trust to have a background check. This will have ZERO effect on crime, as criminals are NOT setting up trusts to buy NFA items! No one has been killed with a lawfully owned machine gun since the 1970s, when a police officer murdered his wife with one. This is simply a waste of time – doing something just to do something. Net effect: all those who are part of an NFA trust must have a background check.
4. Push for states to include more mental health data. Virginia has been doing this for a long time, predating the Virginia Tech massacre. Net effect: no effect on gun owners generally and no effect for Virginia gun owners at all.
5. More NICS employees will be hired to make NICS checks quicker and available 24/7, which is fine with VCDL as it will make it faster to buy a gun through a dealer. Net effect: positive because of quicker gun purchases.
6. Centralize tracing bullets used in crime. Net effect: zero for gun owners.
7. Step up investigating those who are illegally selling guns over the internet. Net effect: zero for gun owners.
8. Clarify that dealers are to notify the police about the loss or theft of guns. Net effect: zero for gun owners and zero for gun dealers, who already do this anyhow.
9. Direct U.S. Attorney’s Office to renew domestic violence outreach efforts. This requires coordination with state and local police on domestic violence crime. BUT it also requires coordination with “community groups focused on domestic violence.” I do not trust giving such “community groups” special treatment by the government. Net effect: no real change for gun owners.
10. Get information from the Social Security Administration on mental health issues for the purpose of disqualifying some people from owning a gun. Net effect: this is DANGEROUS, as it can strip people of their right to own a gun WITHOUT DUE PROCESS. A very tiny minority of those with mental health issues are dangerous. Just because you let someone else balance your checkbook doesn’t mean you should not be able to own a gun, but that’s what Obama is doing. Obama is casting a huge net for the purpose of catching what actually boils down to a handful of people.
11. Change HIPAA laws to allow states to share “certain” information from a person’s health records. Net effect: this is DANGEROUS, as it can strip people of the right to own a gun WITHOUT DUE PROCESS. No cookie cutter, bureaucratically controlled, examination of a person’s medical records should be used to strip someone of any of their rights without DUE PROCESS!
12. Encourage the development of “smart guns.” If there is a market for “smart guns,” they will be developed with or without government help. Hint: if police, government agencies like the Secret Service, or the military don’t want smart guns, then they probably are not going to be successful. Net effect: none for gun owners, just government wasting more tax dollars on another boondoggle.