Barack Obama today announced a sweeping set of directives that he intends will cut down on Americans’ access to guns, setting the stage for a constitutional battle with states where lawmakers already are openly defying the latest power grab by the White House.
His plan would demand federal access to the details every time an uncle sells a .22 to a nephew, would ban some weapons outright through a limit on ammunition capacity, would waive medical privacy laws in some cases so individuals can be reported, and others.
But states already have begun fighting back, and one state, Missouri, is looking at a plan that would simply cancel any “act, order, law, statute, rule, or regulation of the federal government upon a personal firearm” and make any federal agency trying to enforce such limits guilty of a Class D felony.
At Obama’s news conference, Vice President Joe Biden said he admired the “grace and resolve” of families of the Newtown, Conn. school shooting victims.
“The president and I are going to try to everything we can to match the resolve you’ve exhibited,” he said. He called it a “moral obligation” to try to prevent any future shootings.
He said he met with representatives of 229 groups to come up with ideas for what Obama could do to crack down on guns.
“We must do what we can now, and there is no person who is more committed to acting … than the president,”
Obama outlined his intentions, based on Biden’s recommendations, as giving local agencies “tools they need to keep guns out of hands of criminals by strengthening the background check system,” letting schools hire resource officers and making sure mental health professionals “know their options for reporting someone with mental illness.”
He also called on federal studies for ways to reduce violence.
- Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
- 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.
- Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
- 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.
- Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
- Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
- Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
- Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
- Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
- Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.
- Nominate an ATF director.
- Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.
- Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
- Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
- 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.
- Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
- Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
- Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
- Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
- Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
- Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.
- Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
- Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.
Obama also told Congress to take action immediately, calling for:
“A universal background check for anyone trying to buy a gun. The law already requires licensed dealers to do checks.”
“Congress should adopt a ban on military styles ‘assault’ weapons, and a 10-round limit for magazines.”
“Congress needs to help rather than hinder law enforcement.” He wants lawmakers to crack down of straw purchasers.
He also said, “We should put more cops back on the job and back on our streets.”
He quoted several children’s letters citing their fear of mass shootings and “our responsibility to care for them.”
“Their voices should compel us to change,” he said.
“If there is even one thing we can to reduce this violence…. we’ve got an obligation to try it,” he said.
Missouri is leading the resistance, but is just one of a half dozen states or more already addressing the issue, with its HB 170.
The plan from Rep. Casey Guernsey already has 61 cosponsors and is called the Missouri Second Amendment Preservation Act. It would nullify any and all federal statements on “personal firearms, firearms accessories, and ammunition.
It states: “Any official, agent, or employee of the federal government who enforces or attempts to enforce any act, order, law, statute, rule, or regulation of the federal government upon a personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is owned or manufactured commercially or privately in the state of Missouri and that remains exclusively within the borders of the state of Missouri shall be guilty of a class D felony.”
A class D felony in Missouri carries a prison sentence of up to four years.
Other states getting into the act include Wyoming, South Carolina and Indiana, and they all follow the work of Montana, which several years ago adopted the Montana Firearms Freedom Act, which simply states local firearms are exempt from federal regulation. That concept was adopted at that time by seven other states, and proposed in two dozen more.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals just last week scheduled a coming hearing on that state law.
After the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, which left 20 children and another six adult victims dead, Obama promised immediate action, and he dispatched Vice President Joe Biden to lead an advisory panel to come up with a plan.
Those recommendations were the basis for Obama’s announcement. However, even that is being challenged. A lawsuit by Freedom Watch director Larry Klayman asks a federal court to order the Obama Gun Control Task Force to halt its meetings and the implementation of any of its recommendations.
The American people “will continue to suffer permanent and irreparable injury” unless the task force is brought into compliance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the complaint, filed in Florida court, states.
Klayman told WND that the case was brought in the Middle District of Florida alleging the Obama White House “had a duty to the American people to provide at least 15 days notice to the public of the meetings which [Joe] Biden has been chairing to recommend so-called gun control measures following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.”
“In their zeal to use this tragedy for political purposes and to try to ram quickly increased legislative gun control measures, if not gun confiscation and/or significant infringement through executive order, down the throats of the American people – in violation of Second Amendment rights – President Obama and Vice President Biden have thumbed their nose at the law and instead been holding closed door meetings with special interest lobbyists on both sides of the issue,” Klayman charged.
The AP noted that whatever was included in Obama’s executive orders, “Congress would have to approve the bans on assault weapons and ammunition magazines holding more than 10 bullets, along with a requirement for universal background checks on gun buyers.”
The report said opposition from Republicans, conservative Democrats and the National Rifle Association simply will be too much to overcome.
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., told the agency, “We’re not going to get an outright ban.”
Meanwhile, some left-leaning states, such as New York, already have started cracking down on the Second Amendment. Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week signed into law a tougher “assault” weapons ban and provisions to try to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill people who make threats.
In the halls of Congress, there was a less frantic mood about gun control, with lawmakers focusing on a looming fiscal deadline, the issue of amnesty for illegal aliens and other issues. Votes on any proposals are not expected for weeks, or even months.
WND had reported that ideas for Obama’s strategies were coming from the Center for American Progress, which released an 11-page proposal, reviewed by WND, calling for a full ban on the sale of assault weapons and magazines with a capacity for more than 10 bullets. CAP suggests legislation to require licensing and transfer restrictions on new and existing “assault” rifles.
The CAP paper, delivered to the White House last week, recommends that Obama issue executive orders requiring all states to collect more data on prospective gun owners for inclusion in a nationwide database.
Such a presidential edict would withhold funding to any state that does not provide the federal government with the names of all the individuals who are prohibited from owning firearms, including those barred from purchasing guns due to mental illness.
The recommended executive action specifically would penalize states that fail to provide records to the National Instant Criminal Background System, or NICS, which is a point-of-sale system for determining eligibility to purchase a firearm.
The NICS is controversial because it receives telephone calls from mental health institutions, psychiatrists and family members who can request the placement of individuals in the NICS index. Those individuals can then be barred from purchasing a weapon if the NICS is satisfied with the complaint, usually requiring supporting documentation.
White House press secretary Jay Carney had promised, “The president has made clear that he intends to take a comprehensive approach” against “the scourge of gun violence in this country.”
WND also has reported on the fears generated by a comprehensive federal list of people that various interest groups don’t want to have guns.
Mike Hammond, legislative counsel for Gun Owners of America, said one of the proposals expected from the president’s advisory panel this week was to establish a universal background check.
The policy, he warned, would establish “the groundwork for setting up a national registry system,” which would solidify America as a “police state.”
Hammond said it would be ominous that an executive order from Obama could “ask a whole bunch of departments for names of people who have mental problems to be sent to the NICS system.”
The result would be that the Medicare system “could turn over the names of people” to a federal data base for a federal prohibition on access to guns. Restricted could be “the elderly,” children who will grow up one day to purchase weapons legally and “the military and police who have been diagnosed with PTSD.”
He said that hits directly at constitutional rights, and those people named on such lists would have a right to a court hearing on the issue.
Obama also was criticized for using American children as “human shields” during his announcement.
Top-rated radio host Rush Limbaugh said, “He’s using these kids as human shields. Obama uses kids as human shields. The Democrats use kids as human shields.”
Limbaugh continued: “He brings these kids who supposedly wrote letters to the White House after Newtown, bring them up there to present a picture of support among the children for the president to do something about guns. It’s gonna be very difficult, very difficult to oppose it. You got these little kids there. They don’t want to die. ‘How can you not listen to them? We’ve gotta do something.’ That’s the picture. That’s the image that the presence of the kids is designed to create.”
Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey summarized the resistance to more gun control, and the resistance.
“When you’ve got people like [Sen. Dianne] Feinstein talking about major bans and Biden telling us that all they need is an executive order, you know these folks are willing to go all the way. So, it’s good to see these folks in Missouri go all the way as well, all the way in support the 2nd Amendment without any ifs, ands, or butts. The feds have absolutely zero constitutional authority to make any laws over personal firearms. Period.”
The center noted, “The Second Amendment was not created to give the right to keep and bear arms to the people. The founders acknowledged that the people already had those rights. The Second was intended to protect them by keeping the federal government off their backs.”
There also have been suggestions that Obama may face personal responses to his gun limit attempts.
Texas Republican Rep. Steve Stockman said he would file articles of impeachment against Obama if he institutes gun control measures with an executive order.
Stockman said such orders would be unconstitutional.
“I will seek to thwart this action by any means necessary, including but not limited to eliminating funding for implementation, defunding the White House, and even filing articles of impeachment,” he said.
THE FULL STORY ON OBAMA’S MASSIVE GUN GRAB:
See WND’s latest columns on gun control:
Guns don’t kill people, the mentally ill do by Ann Coulter
What happened to Lanza’s 4 handguns? by Jack Cashill
The consequences of volatile speech by Phil Elmore
It’s all about safety by Craige McMillan
Guns and government by Andrew Napolitano
‘Gun Culture’ – what about the ‘Fatherless Culture’? by Larry Elder