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Executive Order or Useless Memo? | U.S. PATRIOT NEWS & REVIEWS

Executive Order or Useless Memo?

When the President announced a series of Presidential orders he claimed were designed to address gun violence, it was immediately the top story across the nation. Proponents hailed him for doing what Congress refused to, protecting the people rather than pandering to the pro-gun lobby. Opponents, on the other hand, claimed he had overstepped his authority and was simply firing the first shots in a large battle aimed at taking away guns. I have to admit, I was concerned myself.

After reading the White House press release listing the President’s orders, I cannot say my concerns have been alleviated. Quite to the contrary, I am concerned more now than ever that the President has an agenda. More frightening is my belief that he is less and less concerned about hiding that agenda as he enters the last year of his Presidency. However, if this is the best he can come up with, we are more likely to face a series of needless court hearings and wasted tax dollars than mass confiscation of our firearms.

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

Much of the desired information is already required to be reported. If required information is not being reported, it is most likely a result of faulty record keeping, inability of systems to work cooperatively or issues related to privacy. Another requirement to report is like another gun law – not worth the paper it is written on.

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.

There are many citizens, and more importantly judges, who are likely to find the removing of these “unnecessary legal barriers,” especially HIPAA, will do more harm than good. I am positive this will be the FIRST area to face legal scrutiny and a negative finding by the courts. Plus, it risks forcing many to avoid receiving necessary medical treatment due to fears it will result in their firearms being confiscated.

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

What kinds of incentives are needed or could the federal government possibly provide? If it is a matter of money, that will only work until the checks stop arriving.

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.

Buy a GunSeriously? Adding additional people to the list of those prohibited to possess firearms will not have a serious impact when we currently fail to hold those already on the list accountable.

5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.

While this should certainly be done IF the firearms were seized during an arrest by law enforcement, I believe it is already possible; it’s just a matter of procedure from one jurisdiction to the next. However, the only reason a firearm should be returned is because the defendant prevailed in court, meaning they should not now have that arrest held against them.

6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.

This is nothing more than a waste of paper so someone can check a block saying “We did something.” FFL holders do not “run background checks,” state law enforcement agencies do. FFL holders complete the required forms and there are already several pages of instruction dealing with this in the manuals they receive- plus help lines they can call with questions.

7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.

This appears to be one of those things which were added to the list because it cannot be attacked; after all, who is going to complain about more safety? But, will it really address gun violence? Accidents maybe; violence no.

8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

Locked guns are not escaping and killing innocent people. If locks and safes are used, they are effective; but, having better locks or safes is unlikely to having any measurable impact.

9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.

Gun TraceIsn’t this already happening? I know I see reports all the time, usually within hours, describing where a gun was purchased, by who and when. If this is not being done, where is this information coming from and why isn’t it good enough?

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

ZZZZZZ…another sleeper item which will have little impact other than to confirm guns are stolen, sometimes used by criminals and sometimes used in homicides.

11. Nominate an ATF director.

Isn’t this already something which is a job of the President? Now he needs an EO to do his own job?

12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.

Again, already being done.

13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.

Wow, now we are going to “maximize our efforts.” Again, this is already being done at the lowest levels, it only breaks down as you move up the ladder to prosecutors and judges unwilling to actually hold those arrested accountable.

14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.

PresidentYou do not need to conduct an expensive study, just visit an inner city neighborhood or cruise social media. The answer is simple – thugs!

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.

This is a tricky subject. More safety sounds like a good idea, but more often than not it only raises the cost of firearms and impedes their use when actually needed. Plus, criminals will simply revert to using pre-technology firearms.

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

It might not prevent them from asking, but it sure doesn’t mandate I answer. Unless it has a direct correlation to my care, there is no reason for this invasion of my privacy. This is another one which will only affect lawful owners willing to answer truthfully.

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

Does he really think that criminals or would-be terrorists are likely to confide in their health care provider beforehand? I would also bet that most doctors are already quick to make a call if they feel they can under the current program.

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

More SROs and more money is not the problem; any schools which have thus-far refused to do so following the most recent school shootings are worried about more than breaking the bank. How about clarifying that only armed SROs do any good?

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

Gun Free ZoneThis is another issue which can be filed in the “already done” folder.

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

Fodder that makes it look like mental health is a priority. While this sounds good, it should be part of insurance reform and not gun violence.

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

See earlier response to #20

22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.

There is no doubt a revised mental health care program is necessary and may actually have an impact on violent crime. However, by having this part of a gun violence program, I fear it will be used to mask otherwise illegal sharing of information or seizure of firearms.

23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.

Another way of saying the same thing. We get it; the mental health system is terrible and needs reform. Otherwise, see response to #22.

The majority of these actions have little or nothing to do with violent gun deaths. Some may reduce accidental deaths or those committed due to domestic violence, but none will prevent a psychotic fanatic from wiping out his co-workers or neighbors. In the end, I will be surprised if any survive the year.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell

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