Thursday, January 17, 2013

President Obama's Gun Control Executive Actions

In the wake of the one month anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings President Obama has taken 23 executive actions.  There has been much confusion over what these mean for all American's.  Before a discussion of this sort can take place we must first understand some of the verbiage used in his statements and what he did do and didn't do.

    First off we need to understand that Obama did not give any Executive Orders, which have been a large point of public controversy in the past few presidential terms, including some from former President George W. Bush; the alarming rate of which has only gone up as Congress continues to be in gridlock with the currently sitting president.  Executive Orders are considered to have the force of law.

    The next term to understand is a Presidential Memorandum. The Wikipedia article on Presidential Memorandums can help explain a lot, but for those of you who don't like to follow links I will summarize it here.  These are basically letters written to others in the Executive Branch of the government clarifying how to uphold current laws.  We'll notice that there are three Presidential Memorandums (executive actions 1, 9, and 14)  being given to force federal agencies to share information, trace guns, and to have the Centers for Disease Control(CDC) begin research again.

    Another set are actions that he is committing himself to instruct other agencies, or clarify how they are supposed to interpret certain laws; such as the statement "Release a letter", used multiple times, in order to clarify laws that have already been passed.  These clarifications do not have the force of law that an Executive Order has, but will guide agencies and health providers in setting their own internal policies.  These are used in executive actions 6, 17, and 20.  Although executive action 16 doesn't use the verbiage to release or publish a letter, it does say to clarify part of the Affordable Care Act.

    His next step is to direct the Attorney General, Consumer Product Safety Commission, and DOJ in reviewing laws, safety standards and research into new technology ( executive actions 4, 8, 10, and 15 )  After which he also commits to developing his own plans to get these done through incentives, proposed laws, regulations, and nominating an ATF director (executive actions 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23).

    No where in here has he ordered guns to be confiscated, a return of the assault rifle ban, or limit on magazine capacity.  Those items he has left to Congress to do, but has strongly called for them to take action in that direction.  A point of confusion may come from New York recently passing an assault rifle ban and a strict limit on magazine capacity.

    These executive actions are not all docile, formal acts to just please his supporters or the gun-control lobbyists.  As has been noted in various articles concerning the New York gun-control measures, that were passed in near back-door secret, there is concern of people not going for mental health evaluations or treatment, or afraid to mention anything to their doctors due to the possibility of getting labeled mental ill and having their rights stripped from them.  I would like to draw special attention to executive action 16 in which he clarifies that doctors are not prohibited from asking about guns in the home.  Then in executive action 17 he again clarifies to them that there is no law prohibiting them from reporting threats of violence to law-enforcement.  Will there be a connection made between the two that makes the mere mention of guns in the home a reason to report to law-enforcement?  Would this later be done by executive action or Executive Order?  How many people will not seek medical attention that is needed due to these actions?



  1. Good summary, I wish more of my friends could actually get educated and not believe every post they read on Facebook.

  2. Obama created a new category of "law" beyond the Executive Order called the Executive Memorandum. That's how he slipped in the DREAM Act with out an act of Congress. It's not law, so it can't be challenged. It's not official, so there's no one to be held accountable. If Congress fails to pass what he wants, watch for the Exec Memo to be the fall-back position.