President Barack Obama has long been frustrated by the Constitution of the United States blocking his attempt to undermine the gun rights of American citizens, and has repeatedly blustered that he would take “executive actions” to effect change.
Despite all of his threats and scolding, all he has to back up his boasts are a pair of trivial proposals.
According to gun industry insiders and others familiar with the proposals, the changes include requiring an expanded number of small-scale gun sellers to be licensed — and therefore conduct background checks — whenever selling a weapon. This wouldn’t close the so-called gun show loophole, though it has the potential to narrow it.
The administration is also expected to impose tighter rules for reporting guns that get lost or stolen on their way to a buyer.
Neither comes close to the stronger gun control measures Obama sought in the wake of the 2012 mass shooting of schoolchildren in Sandy Hook and that he has said he still wants. But with Congress unlikely to approve any new gun curbs before the 2016 election, the measures are in line with what gun-control advocates were hoping would be adopted before Obama leaves office.
The myth of the “gun show loophole” still won’t die, I see.
Gun dealers are required to run FBI NICS background checks whenever and wherever they sell firearms. Private citizens are not required to get government permission to sell their personal possessions. Obama’s executive action won’t change either reality in the slightest. What this action will do is affect a very small group of people—perhaps a few thousand people in a nation of 322 million—who dabble in recreational sales and trading, forcing them to either become an FFL, or give up their hobby.
The executive order on reporting lost or stolen guns is purely an act of spite that the Administration hopes touse to screw over a few gun dealers a year with for paperwork violations. It’s an act of meanness from a petty and failing Executive Branch, and certain to be challenged.
If Obama acts alone to tighten the nation’s gun laws, it would set up a major confrontation with Republicans and gun rights groups during an election year.
The background check measure would surely prompt a legal challenge from Republicans and groups such as the National Rifle Association, which argues Obama does not have the legal authority to take such a broad step on his own.
Obama’s final year in office appears to be ending with a whimper, and with a label he’ll certainly hate, that of the greatest gun salesman of all time, with 100+ million firearms sold during his Presidency so far.