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President Obama: Executive action

January 17th, 2013

Let’s keep it simple.

Today, the President is announcing that he and the Administration will:

1.    Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevan tdata available to the federal background check       system.

2.  Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health InsurancePortability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from makinginformation 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 fromhaving a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.

5.  Propose rulemaking 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 onhow 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 SafetyCommission).

9.   Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns  recovered in criminal investigations.

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.

12.   Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with propertraining 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 toresearch the causes and prevention of gun violence.

15.   Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effectiveuse 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 asking their patients  about guns in their homes.

17.   Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibitsthem from reporting threats of violence to law   enforcement authorities.

18.  Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.

  1. Pat.Herve
    January 17th, 2013 at 08:23 | #1

    Ok, so Obama did not take away the rights to own guns by EO, as was told repeatedly by many people like hannity, limbaugh, and others. He is not the boogey man they are trying to make him out to be. He is trying to have a conversation as to what to do, and if the extremes will not have a conversation, and come in and say NO to everything – there is not point in conversing.

    From the enthusiasts – is there not a type of weapon, or ammo (that is now available) that is not practical to be in the hands of people?

    Join the conversation, and lets be productive – otherwise, you get what you get, and will not be happy with it. The Majority of people are tired of Columbine, UVA, NewTown, Oak Creek, Nickel Mines, Aurora, etc (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/mass-shootings-mother-jones-full-data). We are tired of it, and tired of nothing being done – doing nothing is not an option.

    Having a few teachers armed is not a solution – Columbine had two armed guards that day, UVA has a police force. It is more than just our schools – Fort Hood is a military base, Aurora was a movie theater, Oak Creek was a Sikh Temple, etc. Anyone just proposing arming teachers is not looking at the situation, just being reactionary.

  2. Elena
    January 17th, 2013 at 08:53 | #2

    The sky is not falling, chicken little can go back home. Common sense proposals, now let’s talk.

  3. January 17th, 2013 at 11:26 | #3

    From the enthusiasts – is there not a type of weapon, or ammo (that is now available) that is not practical to be in the hands of people?

    First, define practical. I don’t find certain ammo to be practical but others do. They have different purposes in mind. So…no, not really. Everything from .17 WMR to 4 bore has a purpose.

    • January 17th, 2013 at 14:45 | #4

      I don’t think anyone is arguing the finer points of that list yet. I have barely read it (other than to cut and paste). I need more time to learn about the finer points.

  4. Lady Emma
    January 17th, 2013 at 12:49 | #5

    How would any of these have prevented Sandy Hook?

    1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.

    Adam Lanza didn’t personally own the gun he used.

    2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health InsurancePortability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from makinginformation available to the background check system.

    As I mentioned in an early post, patients will just lie while doctors will be practicing defensive medicine to avoid lawsuits. Let’s say, God forbid, that my husband dies suddenly, and I say something to a counselor like, “I can’t imagine living without him,” and I admit to having guns. Someone’s gonna report me or risk public exposure and possibly a lawsuit.

    3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.

    Adam Lanza didn’t own the gun he used, so therefore no background check.

    4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited fromhaving a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.

    Adam Lanza didn’t own the gun he used.

    5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.

    Adam Lanza killed himself before the gun he used could be seized and a background check run.

    6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.

    Adam Lanza didn’t purchase the gun he used.

    7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.

    OK, good, but mass murderers don’t tend to be particularly safety-minded when they are killing others as well as themselves.

    8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product SafetyCommission).

    OK, good, assuming people actually keep their guns locked up in the first place, which Nancy Lanza apparently did not.

    9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.

    They already have that ability.

    10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.

    They already have that ability.

    11. Nominate an ATF director.

    Why do legal substances require a separate Agency to regulate? Why can’t this be an FBI function?

    12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with propertraining for active shooter situations.

    YES!!! Bingo, we have one winner out of 12 so far! Everyone should have some level of combat mentality.

    13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.

    Enforce existing laws? What a concept. Ding, ding, ding! Two out of 13 now.

    14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.

    Report # 1, OK. Then what?

    15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effectiveuse of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.

    Report # 2, OK. Lots of tax money for people to get together and write useless reports, I guess.

    16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.

    I don’t like where this is going. And patients will lie. Especially sociopathic patients.

    17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.

    And if they don’t report, then what? Something happens, and all the attention is on the doctor who didn’t report. I’d like to see protections in place for practitioners first.

    18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.

    Ding, ding, ding! Three out of 18, if we’re talking money (which of course we would only be borrowing).

  5. January 17th, 2013 at 12:52 | #6

    @Elena
    Ok. Lets talk.

    I think that the place to begin is what actually needs to be done? We are not politicians that panic and must be seen to be doing SOMETHING! ANYTHING!

    What is the likelihood of this happening again? IN the military, one learns that the first thing to do is to determine the threat. To what extent do we need to actually “harden” our schools? Based strictly on statistics, is this a “black swan” event? Do we need to arm teachers? How good of an idea is it to allow those with training to be armed, with no additional duties other than defend themselves as needed? What is the definition of a “resource officer”? Because here in Henrico, they are actual armed county police. And do we REALLY need an armed guard in every school? What emergency training plans to we need to invent?

    What increased mental health scrutiny and reporting do we need and how would that be implemented in light of the assorted ACLU cases protecting the patients’ rights?

    Look at the assorted cases of shootings and determine what they have in common; what actually happened; what were the resources available, etc. And go back as far as possible. If the first mass shooting took place in 1979, why weren’t there similar occurrences earlier?

    Examine writings from all sources from http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map to http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/335739/facts-about-mass-shootings-john-fund.

    Since many use tragedies to advance agendas, we need to step away from that. We cannot step away from politics altogether since what we are seeking ARE political solutions. We also need to look at any unintended consequences of any laws implemented, without discounting those that are offended by said laws because of their principles.

    • January 17th, 2013 at 14:55 | #7

      Don’t worry, no one is going to accuse the hobbyists of making any rash–obviously the politicians aren’t hustling around either. What is the likelihood it will happen again? You tell me. We keep having massacre after massacre. Why would I think it wasn’t going to happen again. I keep getting proven wrong.

      No one is stepping away this time. This is clearly an example of everyone pointing their finger at the other guy and since no one wants to rein in the various areas of abuse, now it is going to be done for you. The national mood is ripe and ready. Too bad 20 little children had to die to really get out attention.

  6. middleman
    January 17th, 2013 at 17:57 | #8

    @Lady Emma
    Lady, nothing will ever stop every crime from happening. You do what you can and slowly bend the curve. You list specifics in regard to the Sandy Hook killings, but this list is designed to cover many different atrocities. You point out that in some cases the laws are already on the books (and the ATF already exists), but the point is that the NRA (and other gun and ammo manufacturer groups) have neutralized the laws and the ATF. Just because an agency has the ability to do something doesn’t mean they are doing it. The NRA has even shut down the gathering of data on gun crimes. The president is indicating that intends to change this- “ride herd” on it.

    And keep in mind this is just a start. Public opinion is clearly behind the president. If folks will take part and hammer congress, maybe we can force them to do more to prevent the proliferation of these tragedies.

    • January 17th, 2013 at 18:16 | #9

      All I can think after seeing Jon Stewart is that most NRA folk continually say “enforce the laws.” It looks like their crowd has done quite a bit to see that the existing laws aren’t enforced.

      The clearing house needs to get in top top order immediately. We don’t need shoe boxes of records lying around. This is 2013. The manned lunar mission was mainly done with computers. Imagine if someone set their mind to consolidated, electronically filed records in 2013.

  7. Lady Emma
    January 17th, 2013 at 19:42 | #10

    Thirteen people were killed and 29 injured in the shooting at Fort Hood (a relatively gun-free zone), and the president was silent on gun control and treated it as an incidence of “workplace violence.” A border agent was killed because of guns that were run across the border by the Obama administration, and the whole thing was downplayed. Inner-city children kill each other daily in Chicago. To extend a bit, Obama’s drone strikes have killed countless children. So it kind of rings false when Biden and Obama say, “If just one life is saved…”

    The Sandy Hook tragedy has resulted in an almost obscene political theater, going for maximum emotional impact and using more children as props. It’s hard not to feel distrustful and cynical.

    • January 17th, 2013 at 20:27 | #11

      Fort Hood had to work out its own security. That was a military problem. It had nothing to do with gun control.

      You know Emma, we aren’t talking about border agents or Chicago. You are bringing those incidents up as a distraction because you obviously aren’t comfortable with discussing the Newtown massacre. The key word here is massacre. I find this “yes but” mentality almost disrespectful to the memory of those poor little children who did nothing but go to school that day.

      It should wrench everyone’s heart out. Those kids were freaking 6 years old. No one is using children as props. Children were used as target practice by some sick little F*** who shouldn’t have had access to guns or video games. He obviously should have been locked up tigher than John Hinkley. But he wasn’t. If you want to make up excuses why we as a country shouldn’t immediately decide enough is enough…well then have at it. Please just don’t do it here.

      I don’t have a single right in the world I wouldn’t trade to undo the death of those poor kids. They aren’t the only victims. Their parents and siblings and grandparents will never recover.

  8. January 17th, 2013 at 20:02 | #12

    @middleman
    No it hasn’t. The FBI and ATF collect all sorts of data on gun crime. The ATF not only controls the FFL’s, they do it strictly.
    Of course, any law is not enough for the gun banners.

    • January 17th, 2013 at 20:34 | #13

      No one here wants to totally ban guns. I think ‘strongly regulate some guns’ might be accurate.

  9. Scout
    January 17th, 2013 at 20:37 | #14

    I can see a regrouping around different talking points, now that it is clear that the Biden/Adminsitration proposals are modest, rational, and non-apocalyptic.

    We have a mass killing problem. We also have a gun violence problem. These are not necessarily the same problem, the solutions are not necessarily the same for each, but they overlap. But these are societal problems that affect what we want the United States of America to be. No solution is perfect. No collection of measures is going to solve all the problems. But each of the thousands of gun deaths, whether in clumps of 26 or 33 or 70 or 2 or whatever, is a major problem for us. We are awash in guns. These guns will not go away. Some are held by responsible citizens pursuant to their constitutional rights and are used carefully for lawful purposes, some are held by demented or careless or immoral or evil people. Some are held by distressed, emotionally fraught people. As a society, our task is to find ways to minimize the impact of the easy availability of these death-dealing weapons in a society that also has enshrined their possession as a legal right. We have a considerable range of options to assert, because the right is one that recognizes the necessity of strong and effective regulation. Not all of the Administration’s proposals will be realized. Some will, some won’t. But it is important for all of us to try to find ways to save the next life. Several hundred people have been killed by guns since Sandy Hook. If every measure proposed by the Biden Task Force were enacted, probably only a minority of that number would be saved. But that savings is a huge benefit to all of us.

    Something like Sandy Hook is a catalyst for public awareness. The measure of whether a proposed response is valid is not solely whether it would have partially or completely prevented the most recent tragedy. The question is whether, given the increased public awareness of the society we have become, we can find politically achievable, lawful measures that bring down the body count.

  10. January 17th, 2013 at 22:25 | #15

    @Moon-howler
    Well, except for the total gun free zone idea on military bases. Its the ultimate gun control environment.

    • January 17th, 2013 at 22:42 | #16

      I have nothing to say about what the military does with its gun policy. I don’t know who is recommending that.

      As many people as come back from the middle east with PTSD I would think that might not be such a hot idea. But what do I know.

    • January 18th, 2013 at 05:13 | #17

      Did that bother you, Cargo?
      I am not sure why any base would want individuals walking around packing their own heat. Thats a lot of people in an environment.

      Not everyone is a good guy.

  11. Lady Emma
    January 17th, 2013 at 22:51 | #18

    Under a 1993 order passed by President Clinton, carrying a private firearm on a military base was banned on military bases in the United States. Individuals could privately own firearms if they lived on base, but those firearms could not be carried on the person while on base.

  12. Scout
    January 18th, 2013 at 05:57 | #19

    A military base would seem about the last place where people should need or want to carry private shootin’ irons.

  13. January 18th, 2013 at 10:15 | #20

    @Scout
    And we thought so too….. until that traitor Hassan.

    • January 18th, 2013 at 10:20 | #21

      A base could be shot up by anyone. A civilian, someone in the military….doesn’t have to be a traitor.

      Perhaps there need to be armed guards on bases. You would probably get lots of applicants.

  14. January 18th, 2013 at 10:40 | #22

    No…but Hassan is a traitor. That’s why I called him one.

    “Perhaps there need to be armed guards on bases. You would probably get lots of applicants.”
    Nice sarcasm. Well played.

    Or we could just let them be allowed to carry, like some teachers are allowed to… (sarc)

    • January 18th, 2013 at 15:00 | #23

      I can see why a commandant of a base wouldn’t want people carrying their own weapons. But…that is the military’s problem. I don’t really feel I have any place commenting.

  15. middleman
    January 18th, 2013 at 14:24 | #24

    Lady Emma :
    Thirteen people were killed and 29 injured in the shooting at Fort Hood (a relatively gun-free zone), and the president was silent on gun control and treated it as an incidence of “workplace violence.” A border agent was killed because of guns that were run across the border by the Obama administration, and the whole thing was downplayed. Inner-city children kill each other daily in Chicago. To extend a bit, Obama’s drone strikes have killed countless children. So it kind of rings false when Biden and Obama say, “If just one life is saved…”
    The Sandy Hook tragedy has resulted in an almost obscene political theater, going for maximum emotional impact and using more children as props. It’s hard not to feel distrustful and cynical.

    Lady, as Scout has so eloquently pointed out, politicians need to pick their moment to move forward on contentious issues such as gun violence. Now that the public is awakened by a tragedy such as Sandy Hook is one of those times.

    Inner city children are killed daily in most American cities, not just Chicago- another good reason the address the overall problem as the administration is trying to do. What’s the alternative- do nothing as the GOP has done? The GOP complains that “the president needs to lead,” then screams to high heaven when he does. Once again, the Democrats govern and the GOP stalls.

    As far as drone strikes killing countless children- do you have documentation of that? How many (I agree one is too many, but I have not heard “countless”).

  16. January 18th, 2013 at 14:30 | #25

    “What’s the alternative- do nothing as the GOP has done?”

    Strange… the GOP isn’t in charge of those cities, so why is it that the GOP needs to do something. Most of those cities are run by predominantly Democrat administrations.

    Illinois is a gun banner’s utopia.

  17. Lady Emma
    January 18th, 2013 at 16:54 | #26

    So let’s be really clear here:

    If one supports all of these Executive orders (and I did express support for a handful of them in #5), it’s because, when it comes to the innocent, beautiful children who were so brutally slaughtered, we should be willing to trade our rights and support this circumvention of the legislative process so that we can do something, anything, as fast as possible. One has the moral high ground when it comes to the little slaughtered babies, and nothing should be spared.

    If one has a problem with any of these measures, one is a cold, selfish, heartless, gun-clinging NRA puppet who revels in gore and doesn’t care about the safety of beautiful little children.

    Did I miss anything?@Moon-howler

    • January 18th, 2013 at 21:33 | #27

      I don’t believe I chimed in with an opinion. It is what is it is. You are definitely trying to put words in my mouth.

  18. January 18th, 2013 at 17:45 | #28

    @Lady Emma
    If you read them carefully, Obama actually did not do all of them as EO’s. Some are merely suggestions…etc.

    I think that he is going to wait for any support to appear in Congress first before doing anything serious.

  19. Lady Emma
    January 18th, 2013 at 21:26 | #29

    @Cargosquid I’m not really worried, actually. This will go on for another few days until the next shiny object comes along. Like ultrasounds.

    • January 18th, 2013 at 22:01 | #30

      Ultra-sounds aren’t a new shiny object. They are old news, I am so sorry to say. There will be a new bright shiny object for sure, ince the Republicans still control both houses of the General Assembly.

      Side Show Bob will probably come up with something else stupid before all is said and done.

  20. Scout
    January 18th, 2013 at 21:55 | #31

    Emma: which rights do any of the proposals ask us to forsake? I can’t see that any of them abridge any particular right.

  21. Scout
    January 18th, 2013 at 23:37 | #32

    By the way, my query refers to the comment at 1654.

  22. middleman
    January 20th, 2013 at 08:46 | #33

    Cargosquid :
    “What’s the alternative- do nothing as the GOP has done?”
    Strange… the GOP isn’t in charge of those cities, so why is it that the GOP needs to do something. Most of those cities are run by predominantly Democrat administrations.
    Illinois is a gun banner’s utopia.

    Cargo- I thought it was obvious I was speaking about the federal government, not state government. Apparently not.

  23. middleman
    January 20th, 2013 at 12:28 | #34

    I didn’t get any documentation on “Obama’s drone strikes have killed countless children, ” so I did the research myself, with a surprising (at least to me) result.

    According to reputable sources, at least 178 children have been killed by U.S. drones. To me this is totally unacceptable and I thank Lady Emma for bringing it up.

    More details: http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/25/world/asia/pakistan-us-drone-strikes/index.html

    • January 20th, 2013 at 16:06 | #35

      Can drones tell ages? How many kids would be killed if manned crafts bombed? Would those people be able to tell the difference?

      I am not trying to be cavalier about killing or maiming children–I am just not sure that drones vs manned aircraft is what is going to make the difference.

      Maybe I don’t understand drones.

  24. middleman
    January 20th, 2013 at 16:33 | #36

    I’m certainly no drone expert, but I’ve played one on TV (kidding!).
    From what I’ve read, drones are controlled by an operator that releases bombs on ordered targets, or they can be sent on “automatic.” On the ground intel is used to decide what sites are targets. Some targets are obviously more likely to have non-combatants nearby, some are not but they may still be there. My guess is that the drones that carry weapons may also have surveillance capacity, but they can’t see inside buildings, etc., and with the pre-programmed missions it wouldn’t matter anyway.

    Some of this may be the enemy staging women and children at prime sites, but that doesn’t really change anything. If this continues, we will lose popular opinion (hearts and minds) in this region, and compromise American values.

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