For four years, many have been waiting for the other shoe to drop on the current administration's stand on gun control and on January 16, 2013, they heard it fall. Firearms Talk looks at what is being asked for, what has been declared by executive order, and what is to come.
23 Executive Orders Issued
The President, as head of the Executive Branch of the federal government, signed 23 executive actions into effect. Many of these are directed at the medical and insurance community, calling for more training for social workers, counselors, psychologists, and other mental health professionals. The White House is calling for 'more nurturing school climates', which presumably means a drive against bullying. In a move bound to spark debate over doctor-patient privacy, the orders call for increased notification of potentially unstable persons to law enforcement.
Another action orders an ATF director to be appointed (the agency has been on autopilot for six years). Yet another calls for the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence. A third calls for increased research and testing on gunlocks. Some $4.5 billion was coughed up by the administration to help pay for 15,000 more police officers, 1000 school resource officers, provide more active shooter response training, and give states more money for background checks.
Assault Weapons Ban called for
The Whitehouse also issued a 15-page plan entitled ominously "Now is the Time" that outlines other measures it is calling for from Congress.
Falling short of actually decreeing a ban, which would be certain to find immediate legal challenges filed across the country, the White House called for a reinstatement of the sunsetted 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. Officially known as Title XI of the Federal Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, Subtitle A (the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act), this act was in effect for 10-years without much of an effect on either gun violence or the firearms industry. This regulated guns on their cosmetic properties and banned magazines over 10-rounds.
(Photo from Strait Forward in a Crooked World )
"Now is the Time" also asks for all firearms transfers to go through the NICBCS system ran by the FBI as a requirement.
Strangely, the plan asks for 'armor-piercing bullets' to be taken off the streets without providing a basis in fact as to how these things have become a problem in the first place.
What this all means
Unlike New York State's drastic new firearms law enacted just 24-hours before the White House's announcement, the vast majority of the actions taken in the President's stand are social issues and not outright bans or restrictions.
Of course there is the move to 'close the gun show loophole' that can quickly be interpreted into an incremental means to prevent transfers without federal government documentation involved, and the inevitable push for turning the AWB switch back to the 'on' position. Overall, it seems that the White House has taken a strong social stand but has not pulled the trigger, excuse the pun, on an actual ban.
You can expect that to come from Congress. There even CNN reports that, "more than a dozen vulnerable Democrats from conservative states will probably resist much of what the president is pushing." Meanwhile some Republican congressional representatives are openly calling for impeachment .
Call, write, and email your representatives at all levels and let them know where you stand.