At 11:55 AM, January 16, President Barack Obama revealed his “sweeping” gun regulations to include 23 “executive action” steps. This contribution will include my thoughts before and after the speech. Be assured nothing will happen with the bloodthirsty right-wing House. I’ll begin my prequel of this event with a few background facts and figures and what I think should be included in the President’s initiatives.
It’s three hours before the fact of our President essentially wasting his time. His efforts are reportedly to include a ban on assault weapons and establishing 10 as the maximum number of bullets that can be contained in ammunition magazines. We tried that ban previously from 1994-2004 and it was laughable. There were enough holes to put Swiss cheese to shame. A tweak and/or rename rendered a particular semi-automatic impervious to the law. Many ‘assault’ weapons weren’t even on the list of forbidden firearms. In the sunset interim, attempted re-introductions of the ban haven’t even made it out of committee.
Enforcing existing laws should be on the agenda. The ATF has been trying to get right-wing prosecutors to do that for years. Part of the ‘fast and furious’ frustration was that said prosecutors refused to prosecute. One of the existing laws is an excise tax; another involves wiretaps and interstate trade in handguns and jacking up the gun-buying age to 21 (repeatedly ignored in gun shows). There’s already a law against selling to the mentally ill, known crooks and illegal aliens among others. It’s the 1968 Gun Control Act.
Yet another law loosened restrictions on gun ownership. Then there’s the law that says you can’t have a firearm in a school zone. The Brady Act goes back nearly 20 years and is centered on background checks. A bill requiring trigger locks on guns at homes went into effect a year after Brady was enacted.
There are innumerable state laws, mostly designed to neutralize or render impotent, federal legislation. And the federal right-leaning court system is lurking to make sure nothing meaningful is ever allowed to pass constitutional muster.
I’m also hearing that Obama is going after people who fib during background checks. He’s going to expand the federal database and do away with limits on federal research into gun use. Say what? There are probably hundreds of thousands of Websites, including this one, that delve into that question. I could write 100 pages on the subject as could most of my colleagues.
It’s 12:16 PM in rural Upstate South Carolina and the President, along with his Vice President have just finished speaking about plans to implement gun regulations via Executive Order and through congressional action. Joe Biden was first to the podium. The President stood to the right of the podium. On the left were seated four young children who had written the president about the subject of guns. A parent stood behind each child. Vice President Biden stated “My heart goes out to you” in referencing the parents of the 20 young children murdered inside the Sandy Hook Elementary school. He then talked of the disparate groups that were given input into the subject at hand, pro-gun and anti-gun. He talked about sitting with a total of 229 groups ranging from law enforcement to gun advocacy and religious leaders, Mayors and Governors. Their proposals would form the foundation for the President’s actions.
He quoted audience member Colin Goddard, a Virginia Tech survivor who was shot 4 times, as saying “I’m not here because of what happened to me but because what happened to me keeps happening to others.” Biden then turned the podium over to the President.
After thanking Biden for his service, the President acknowledged the 4 youngsters sitting on the stage and read a line or two from each of their correspondences. It was clear that children were the focus of his gun reform attempts. He then revealed that since Sandy Hook, “900 (individuals) have died at the end of a barrel.”
In an announcement that I’m sure surprised many, he said he had put together 23 Executive Orders, 4 or 5 more than most estimates (including mine as you can see).
They would cover such critical areas as emergency preparedness plans, mental health issues and CDC studies targeting the best ways to reduce violence. The President then put the onus on Congress to move rapidly on meaningful gun legislation. ROFLMAO!
The top priority was universal background checks for anyone trying to buy a gun. As I suspected, another demand included restoring the ban on military-style assault weapons with a 10 round limit on magazines. He urged congress to help and not hinder law enforcement where straw purchases seemed the main target. He also requested that Todd Jones be confirmed as Director of the AFT. In the last 6 years, only acting Directors have served as the confirmation process has been stymied.
He kissed some NRA butt in insisting that he agrees with the right to bear arms and predicted that, notwithstanding that statement, certain extremists and media-types (a thinly veiled reference to LaPierre, Limbaugh and O’Reilly) would call his proposals a tyrannical all-out assault on liberty.”
Obama repeated that the most important changes depended on Congress and said that the only way we can change is if the American people demand it.
I haven’t read any of the Executive Orders as yet. They weren’t immediately available during this writing. (Editor’s note: you can read them now here.) I will say it was a wonderful and heartfelt speech; the response of a decent President and family man. I will also say that the chances of any congressional action are close to zero, if that. House Republicans will point out that Obama’s wish list is already on the books and they have no intention of further threatening the ubiquitous “2nd Amendment rights.” I mean if “A well regulated militia” was good enough in 1791, it’s sure as hell good enough in 2013.
The speech ended with a sadly compelling story of 7-year-old Grace McDonald, a Sandy Hook victim. She wanted to be an artist when she grew up. Her parents gave the President one of her paintings. He has it hanging in his study.
After the story ending his speech, Barack Obama went to a small desk to sign his Executive Orders. He’s sincere in his reform goals. Those politicians who could help him in his efforts, won’t. The House vote is already in. It’s the gun lobby over children’s lives!