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The 23 Executive Actions Unveiled by President Obama

Here they are. No doom and gloom. Nothing shocking. Nothing unconstitutional or even controversial. Lots of spending. Little impact. Maybe a couple of zingers in there but hard to tell from a one liner. The devil will be in the details.

Several of the actions relate to mental health. A few that cross over between both areas look sticky. There’s even one that pays lip service to protecting schools. Another one that actually proposes enforcing laws on the books (imagine that). Reading through the list, I’d say that NICS has some serious issues and they know it. It should be abolished, with States running their own background check systems. I’d imagine they’d do a better job themselves considering they have to actually deal with the consequences of a gun in the wrong hands. It’s more of a practical concern than the theoretical one the federal government has.

All in all, the list sounds reasonable doesn’t it? But, when you read the document released last Tuesday from the White House press office embedded at the bottom of this article, you’ll be able to put it all in perspective. In the backgrounder issued to the press, he calls for much more and in greater detail. These are themes that the media will use in writing articles and in crafting questions to ask the President and others.

Granted, as far as Executive Orders go, the President could have taken what I call the “Nuclear” option, which is to cut off the importation of all firearms and parts. I’d say, considering executive orders from previous administrations, that would be well within a President’s power. If he had stopped the importation of all foreign produced weapons and parts, it would have hurt in the short-term, but would have resulted long-term in a much stronger American gun industry and might have resulted in trade wars with nations who produce consumer-based firearms. Notice he didn’t do that and that’s what I find curious. If he is as serious about guns as he sounds, why didn’t he? Even if for just so-called “assault weapons” and parts? That’s the question folks. What is this guy’s play?

There are lots of questions here and so far none of us have the answers. Is he just playing to his base? Did the fear of the consequences (at home and abroad) of such action dissuade him? Does President Obama know that he doesn’t have the votes in Congress to pass the gun legislation he claims he wants? Or is this all just another political chess move to try and put the Republican party on the defensive? If the desired legislation doesn’t materialize, who to blame but Congress? His hands remain clean. If he gets it, it was all his doing. If he doesn’t, well it’s all on Congress now isn’t it? It’s classic.

I went one step further and waited to publish this article until after the inauguration. I have looked at his speech backward and forward. Not once in his address that sets out his vision for the next four years did he use the words “Gun” or “Firearm”. Rather, the President made this statement during his short address, “Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.” He mentioned gay rights before he obliquely mentioned something that his been his administration’s top priority for the past month. Considering how adaptable the single nod to America’s children is, weighed against the empty gestures of the Executive Orders which were accompanied by some rather strong rhetoric, I can only come to the conclusion that President Obama is playing to his base and is expecting Congress to do his dirty work. Like him or not, you have to acknowledge that Barack Obama is a very skilled politician and has become more adept at playing a long game. The fight for the gun rights will be in Congress. Even though the President’s bark is louder than his bite, don’t for a minute think that this is over. It’s as important as ever that you stay engaged with your Congressional representation as well as with other voters.

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

2. 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.

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

4. 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.

5. Propose rule-making 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 on how 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 Safety Commission).

9. Issue a presidential memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.

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

11. Nominate a new director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

12. Provide law enforcement, first-responders, and school officials with proper training 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 and Prevention to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.

15. 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.

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

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

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

19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.

20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.

21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.

22. Commit to finalizing mental-health parity regulations.

23. Launch a national dialogue led by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Education Secretary Arne Duncan on mental health.

Read this backgrounder from the White House press office released the same day as the announcement. “Embargoing” is used in the media when someone wants you to have it ready to publish but not before they give the OK. Usually, they give you a date and time you can release it.

White House list of executive orders on gun violence. by United Press International

70 Responses to “The 23 Executive Actions Unveiled by President Obama”

  1. Chuck says:

    let’s just hope Cuomo doesn’t make it to the Oval Office…

  2. Zulu6 says:

    I told you so.

    Now can Scar heavy mag prices (and the panic gun prices) please come down from the ridiculous $150 each? There will be no ban or limits on mags. The congress won’t even take it up in the house or senate.

    • T-Man says:

      Wrong. Mag ban introduced by Sen. Lautenburg today. 10 round max.

      • SSD says:

        Ok, so you understand what that means right? There’s already been magazine restriction legislation introduced. Multiple versions of similar legislation actually works in our favor because it gums up the system and differences have to be ironed out in committee. If it even makes it out.

  3. mr bean says:

    Not a single thing about mental health. Confirming they don’t understand the real issue

    • SSD says:

      17 and 19-23 are all mental health related. A few others may be as well.

      • Jeremy says:

        I think ‘mental health’ is the administration’s play. You can then technically define mental illness as whatever you want and restrict the ownership of firearms based on that point alone.

        • SSD says:

          Yes you can, the problem with that is that you have to get the mental health community to actually agree with you. They move like molasses. If it’s not in DSM IV then it probably isn’t going to fly. And with DSM V hitting this year it’s way too late to add some new mystery illness.

          • Jeremy says:

            Perhaps we will see a psychology czar in the near future (half-joking here) which can grease the skids for the administration. I think there was much too heavy of an emphasis placed on mental issues for this to have been just to placate their constituents. It could be that the actual background check itself (including the mental illness evaluation – however that pans out) is the method for restricting gun purchases. You could stretch a background check out to ‘forever’ if you desired.

          • Chris K says:

            If the cdc gets involved, im willimg to bet they can bypass alot of red tape.

          • SSD says:

            Really? The CDC bypass red tape for mental health issues? DSM IV was published in 1994. DSM IV – TR an interim change was published in 2000. DSM V will finally be introduced in 2013. The train to increase the scope of mental disorders has left the station. One thing the psychs like to do is talk, especially after having branded things like homosexuality as mental disorders in the past.

            The CDC would have no bearing on the pace or scope of how the mental health community works. Unless they declare crazy an epidemic. And if that’s the case, isn’t crazy normal? And normal, abnormal?

          • Chris K. says:

            Im not questioning the dsm. So you think a report by the CDC would have no bearing on the future of background checks? I believe it will, especially since the actual purpose of CDC involvement is researching prevention of gun violence, and it will be used a fodder to place more restrictions on gun rights/ownership.

  4. Steve says:

    This is never going to be over, this is premanent shift in national politics.
    Biden mentioned that universal backgrounds checks might be “waived” for family members, but who defines a family, cousin to cousin, brother to brother, or only relatives in a household??
    Either way, this is part of the Gradulism policy…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fabian_socialism

  5. JLo says:

    Sandy Hook, Sandy Hook…it sickens me how these scumbag libs are shamelessly using dead children to push their anti-2A agenda and the sheeple-drones buy into this crap…unbelievable.

    • SSD says:

      You know, part of our problem is that we use words like scumbag to describe anti-gunners. Talk like this is doing us no good. We have got to clean up our acts. If you think that it’s ok amongst friends, remember, the Internet never sleeps and it never forgets. Your opponents are here, watching you, studying you, looking for anything they can use against you.

      Failing to speak of them as adults and worthy opponents is foolish. You have to engage them and win the argument through reason.

      • Sal says:

        Thank you!

        We all agree that things like an AWB are stupid feel-good laws, but saying such bullshit like “there will be blood” if one should pass, as well as calling the other side scumbag, anti-American traitors is not doing the pro-gun crowd any favors.

        More on topic, I disagree with state level databases being inherently better than a federal one. The one big advantage of a federal level DB is that it doesn’t matter where the gun was bought since it’s all going into the same DB. Unless all these state DBs are tied into each other, Ohio for example won’t know that the gun used to commit the crime in question was bought out of state.

        • SSD says:

          I don’t want them knowing who owns what. NICS is intended to make sure that a purchase is a legal purchase.

          • Lawrence says:

            Yes, we have to remember the key difference between a firearm-sale background check and a firearm registry…

            And as long as it could ensured that all states would do the background checks in a consistent manner, and that their databases would be searchable by other states – then I agree that a state-based approach probably would be more workable than a Federal one.

            Finally, we ARE in a war of words – and right now the other side is pulverizing us in print, online and broadcast media. When are we going to see some POSITIVE pro-gun content going out on the public airwaves and media?

  6. orly? says:

    Must everything be a conspiracy?

    • SSD says:

      Where’s the conspiracy?

      • orly? says:

        Where one believes there is.

        • SSD says:

          Remember, it’s not a conspiracy theory if they’re really out to get you. It’s not like they’re being sneaky about it. The anti-gun folks are right up front. They don’t want you to have guns and they are going to do what it takes to get them from you.

  7. IvyMikeCafe says:

    It’s all about 2014. Obama needs Congress to go all democrat. The House must change hands and he needs a filibuster proof senate. He will rely on Congress to do his dirty work in getting the gun bans introduced (McCarthy from NY introduces them every Congress). The media will do its job and hyperventilate, sensationalize every gun crime for the next year, get the population ginned into a panic, and when the next nutcase pops off and shoots up a school, they’ll go berserk and blame the “do-nothing Congress.” Obama can triangulate and point out that he could have gotten the new anti-2a laws through with a compliant, I mean, bi-partisan Congress, which we don’t have.

    The test is really going to be on the media’s ability to essentially do psyops on the US population on guns. The CDC “study” in the EO will play a large part in this, because the real numbers from the FBI UCR continually undermine the media’s “epidemic of gun violence” narrative. The media needs some politicized “science” that will come up with the numbers to fit their preordained conclusions.

    Everyone that is pro-2a is going to have to stay very engaged with their federal and state reps, as well as their neighbors and friends. There is going to be a lot of disinformation and sensationalized media out there on permanent play that will have to be countered with facts, logic, and compassion.

    • SSD says:

      A democrat controlled house is all but impossible, at least in 2014. Redistributing after the last census resulted in Republican voting blocks in many areas that would require mass migration to alter. Or, an act by the Supreme Court and I’ve seen no move to have the districting plans challenged in court.

      Love em or hate em, you’ve got a Republican controlled House for some time to come.

      • IvyMikeCafe says:

        “Love em or hate em, you’ve got a Republican controlled House for some time to come.”

        Anything that serves as a bulwark against this craziness is A-OK by me. Cheers.

        • Lawrence says:

          Don’t count on that bulwark holding…. Remember it was a Republican president who first put a ban on imported “assault weapons”.

          Also, if a Republican Congressperson gets 10,000 letters and emails from constituents fired up by the sensationalist anti-gun media demanding stricter gun laws and a ban on “military-grade assault weapons” vs. a couple of lobbyists from the NRA – who do you think he/she is going to bow to?

          • SSD says:

            I think that the POTUS stuck a stick in a beehive when he forced the Republican members of the House to accept his Sequestration delay deal. And I’d say that they are going to be far less cooperative in the future.

            And btw, this isn’t 1968, or 1986, or 1994. There are more of us now and we are more organized than ever, interconnected through social media. What I take delight in is that same social networking that was touted for making the Arab Spring possible is also stymying efforts to curtail our rights here at home.

  8. IW says:

    I think that the plan is fair given the situation. I cannot understand the issue and concern regarding background checks and safe-keeping of firearms. If you aint got a problem, why the concern?!

    • Riceball says:

      I believe that the concern is that if we give in so much as an inch then at the least they’ll ask for another inch, then another after, and another after that. Or when we give in an inch they’ll ask for and/or take 2 for every 1 we give.

      • Steve says:

        Some background checks, maybe, but those checks will result in lists, and lists mean addresses, names, type and manf of firearms, etc…..not the kind of info I want my .gov to have.
        Example, perp is known to use a MP9, cops within a certain area go house to house to “inspect” all the MP9’s in their files, maybe they have a warrant, maybe they dont. Either way, I dont like it.

  9. Smitty says:

    An awful lot of folks posting here sound exactly like the German Jews in 1932. Try reading a little history.

  10. Travis says:

    I appreciate the reason and candor SSD brings to the issues. From Sandy Hook to STA symbols, SSD keeps it grounded in reality, not hyperbole.

  11. John says:

    No Wai! I was told Obama was going to take away my rights!!! You mean I’ve been lied to!?!??!?!

  12. Matt says:

    As I understand it executive orders can’t impose regulations or restrictions on individual citizens. There has been a lot of misinformation lately about Obama’s latest executive orders. In that he didn’t make any. He issued 23 “executive actions” and 3 “presidential memorandum”. “Executive actions” are like presidential priorities. Things that he would like to see, but would have to pass through congress in legislation. The “presidential memorandum” are almost exactly like an executive order, but labeled differently as a political maneuver to try and minimize the idea that the president is abusing executive orders. Those 3 memorandums though were orders issued to deal with the following: direct federal law enforcement to trace all guns taken in federal custody in the course of a criminal investigation; direct the Department of Justice to ensure that all applicable information from federal agencies is made available for background checks; and direct the Department of Health to “conduct or sponsor research into the causes of gun violence and the ways to prevent it.”

  13. Mike G says:

    Number 4 concerns me and has since the release. If the AG can make policy on who is not allowed to purchase who all can he lump into that list.

    • SSD says:

      Ok, let’s explore this. Who might the AG add to the list of restricted persons? And, has this always been a power of the AG?

      • Chris K says:

        Whether you think this is a relief or further BS, the bottomline is a constitutional amendment was threatened because of twisted truth and obama is trying to capitalize. We all know he if could he would place severe restrictions on 2A. Hopefully like gitmo, the debt, immigration reform and many other issues he wil bel all talk and no walk.

    • Farragut Jones says:

      While Holder has politicized DOJ to an unprecedented degree, I’m not pushing the panic button about this one. As a former DOJ attorney with a lot of policy experience at Main Justice, my guess is that this will result in a paper possibly critiquing state laws regarding firearms sales and recommending the kind of legislation we’d expect from this Administration. But, to answer SSD’s possibly-rhetorical question, the AG can’t make that kind of change himself.

  14. maresdesign says:

    I’d like to thank SSD for the awesome coverage of these events. Keeping Calm and Carrying On with outstanding professionalism.

  15. JES says:

    #15 is also a tricky bit. If they can come up with a list of technologies (microstamping, fingerprint-locks, safety-wristbands, and other existing tech) to mark and/or otherwise control firearms, anti-gun lawmakers and media will trumpet these as “reasonable” tools for solving gun violence and do their best to require them on all civilian gun purchases.

  16. Steve says:

    #4—Do we really want Holder making this decision?
    #14–Unless the CDC uses completly impartial data, we loose on this one.
    #15–More micro-stamping and integral locks….ugh
    #23–Goes with 14 and 10, more reports that guns, gunowners are verbotten and need to be removed from society. National dialouge means reports, studies and blue-ribbon panles that tour the country and gin up support to eleminate gun owners.

  17. Terry says:

    I may be wrong, and I’m certainly no export on US lawmaking process, but from what I can see, these are a reasonable list of things that the President can publish at any time, without invoking a change of law. They are an easy way for him to be seen to be doing something about firearm violence in the short term.

    What they do not do, is preclude him or anyone else from introducing other, more draconian measures to be ratified into law in the longer term at either the state or federal level.

    I live in a country where public outrage over a mass killing was used by politicians with an agenda to push through hasty reforms of the weapon laws and rob the public out of owning semi-automatic and pump-action weapons (well… there are actually provisions for ownership of these firearms, but they are so heavily regulated that you basically have no chance of getting them). As a private citizen, it will take someone here 6-12 months to go through the process of background checks and approvals before they can be issued with a license and purchase a bolt-action rifle, which must be registered, stored in an approved safe and subject to “reasonable” inspections at any time…

    I hope that your constitution, strong pro-gun community and gun culture in general will prevent something as draconian as the Australian gun control laws being introduced in the USA.

  18. Will says:

    It is obvious that this Administration doesn’t understand “The People”. I don’t believe a word that comes out of their mouths. Be a good person, stand up for what you believe in, and above all else;do what is right and live with a clear conscious. I will continue to buy guns, ammo, gold and silver. I will continue to coordinate with like minded neighbors. And when the time comes for me to teach my children, I will instill in them the God given rights of this Republic. I am unafraid because I know patriots like yourselves would rather die on their feet as free men, than live and die as slaves on their knees. God Bless our troops, and God Bless the Republic.

    • Lawrence says:

      I hope you also feel as passionately about the other 9 amendments in the Bill of Rights, and the rest of the Constitution as well – because all of our rights have been under assault for quite a while now…

  19. Eric says:

    The thing that bothers me is the tax payers dollars going toward a campaign based on the stripping of the tax payers rights. I find it fundamentally wrong to take money from my family to try and disarm my family. So what is the price tag on all of these actions and what not? I also dont like the idea of an Obama yes man being in charge of the ATF.

  20. m5 says:

    Why, oh why doesn’t Obama issue executive orders on something important? Like the climate change. It should be of uttermost priority to curb the greenhouse gas emissions of the US and to encourage others – notably China – to follow, using trade policies. In contrast, I’d like Obama to just stay out of the firearms legislation.

  21. m5 says:

    That said, seeing the executive orders is a relief, after all. Not at all as bad as it could have been.

  22. Reverend says:

    “And btw, this isn’t 1968, or 1986, or 1994. There are more of us now and we are more organized than ever, interconnected through social media. What I take delight in is that same social networking that was touted for making the Arab Spring possible is also stymying efforts to curtail our rights here at home. ”

    THIS TO THE NTH DEGREE! Seriously! Within HOURS of any Anti-gun remarks online, you had a plethora of Pro-gun comments on news articles, and online blogs chastising them for punishing those who’ve commited no crimes.

    We’re angry, organized, and we’re determined to NOT have a repeat of 1927,1968,1988, or 1994.

    • Lawrence says:

      I really do sincerely hope so – but we’re not the target audience that needs to get the factual, pro 2nd Amendment messages. Its the 35% (according to one recent poll) of the American public who actually believe that the 2nd Amendment should be repealed or amended thanks to the lies being spewed out daily in newspaper, magazine, online and broadcast media that portray us all as a bunch of Rambo-wannabes at best and aiders-and-abetters to mass murderers at worst.

      So, where are the “pro-gun” columns, articles, news reports, TV adverts telling the rest of the sheeple and ostriches in this country that WE are not the problem?

      • Zulu6 says:

        You are absolutely right but Yeager and Alex Jones killed the message dead and now every night I see Yeager’s bald mug on US & International news representing the 2A movement… just yesterday his stupid rant was on Al Jazeera Arabic!! Frickin’ moron!

  23. SShink says:

    Notice how the wording has changes from “Executive Order” to “Executive Action”. Let’s not allow our dictator to roll over us on this one.

  24. SShink says:

    5. Propose rule-making to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
    This seems a little troubling…the first part of it is missing, “how they seize the gun” in the first place. “FULL background check” allows them to keep the gun indefinitely once it has been seized.

    • Ella says:

      I would assume the gun was seized due to the owner being arrested or detained??? If your not a criminal why would you care? However it does seem like another way to pry into your business with little cause or justification given the right set of circumstances.

  25. Ella says:

    We have a problem and the president is trying to address it by making everyone happy, we all know that doesn’t work. I think addressing the mental health issues are on the mark and I’m glad to see it addressed. We live in a society and unfortunately that means everyone’s safety trumps certain peoples rights to be crazy and unmonitored. I think anyone diagnosed with a serious mental illness should be monitored if nothing else to ensure they are receiving treatment. I know that is a broad and probably impossible option but I think its a good idea. I don’t think the issue is about guns at all. Sane people don’t kill 20 kids.

  26. My concern is what constitutes an “armor piercing bullet”…What’s the standard– IIA? IIIA? IV? Many standard velocity .223 rounds from a Remington XP-100 will penetrate a soft armor vest– will those rounds be illegal for use in a rifle? CMP sold alot of .30-’06 ap rounds a few years back– will those people become criminals?