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Obama gun checks are warranted and reasonable

REUTERS/Joshua Lott
Obama’s actions create a fairer playing field for gun commerce.

The following is an editorial from the Mankato Free Press.

While critics say the recent executive actions on guns taken by President Obama threaten Second Amendment rights, the actions will actually strengthen lawful gun use and by extension Second Amendment rights.

Obama’s actions put teeth into current gun law and bolster the resources for more rigorous enforcement. They also create a fairer playing field for gun commerce.

More and more people see unquestioning allegiance to lax gun-law enforcement as a significant threat to public safety. By strengthening enforcement, Obama will reinforce the rule of law and the idea that Americans can have firearms if they obey the laws on possessing firearms that have been in place for decades.

The executive action adds 230 FBI analysts to the ranks of those who do gun background checks, an increase of 50 percent. The current background check law is a convoluted reverse permission system, allowing a gun sale to go through if a background check cannot be completed in 3 days. The gun is then issued, no questions asked.

The new rules for stepped up 24-hour processing of background checks may have made a difference in the killing of the members of a congregation of a South Carolina church. The killer bought a gun because his background could not be determined after three days.

Other critics say Obama’s actions won’t stop mass shootings like those in Newtown, Connecticut, because the guns were purchased legally. So they’re right in one respect, but no one is saying the new rule will prevent those kind of killings. It’s a false premise. There are still hundreds of thousands of single and multiple victim killings that the new rules have a chance of preventing. To think otherwise is just beyond a reasonable assessment of the facts.

The executive action gives the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms another 200 investigators to do license checks on the increased number of people who will now fall under the definition of “gun dealer.”

The ATF even had trouble sanctioning rogue licensed dealers. The biggest gun seller in Washington state finally lost its license for a horrific record of failing to do background checks, losing track of some 2,400 guns in its possession and being on the list for guns most used in crimes. But it took the ATF 10 years to shut it down, according to a report in the Seattle Times.

The new rules will require more gun sellers obtain a license and conduct background checks.

The increase in enforcement does not require more congressional funding, and Obama said he would much prefer Congress act on these issues. But Congress has been moving slower than ever as it become more a political battleground than a place to solve the country’s problems.

The executive actions are a step in the right direction. A large majority of Americans, including gun owners, support background checks for gun buyers. These reasonable and warranted measures to strengthen our enforcement will improve public safety and protect the integrity of the Second Amendment.

Reprinted with permission.

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Comments (12)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 01/15/2016 - 04:02 pm.

    There’s no need for executive action

    What’s the hurry? If the ideas are so good, let the democrats in congress draft legislation that includes all the provisions you cite, and then let congress vote on it.

    I’m sure Paul Ryan would not hesitate at all to bring up such legislation in an election year, if anything to allow the folks back home to see where their representatives stand on such an important set of solutions.

    By using an executive order, Obama is robbing the congress of the opportunity to demonstrate where they stand on “strengthening lawful gun use and by extension Second Amendment rights.”

    Let the so-called “do nothing congress” do their job.

  2. Submitted by joe smith on 01/16/2016 - 11:19 am.

    Try enforcing current gun laws before adding new ones

    • Submitted by Kurt Nelson on 01/16/2016 - 03:44 pm.

      Which

      ones exactly are not being enforced – use an actual example, not something you heard on Faux news (it doesn’t really count coming from them).
      The funny thing about the gun nuts is the lack of critical thinking (not sure if that’s organic, or learned), but it’s there. Nobody who is legally able to purchase a firearm is being denied by these or other common sense proposals, but of course that never stopped the crying and gnashing of teeth by those who love the 2nd A.

      I’ll wait for a reply with a citation.

      Crickets.

      More crickets.

      Yeah, that’s what I thought, you can’t cite any.

      • Submitted by Steve Rose on 01/16/2016 - 05:03 pm.

        Most people trying to buy a gun illegally are never prosecuted

        Again, most people trying to buy a gun illegally are never prosecuted

        http://www.politifact.com/new-hampshire/statements/2013/mar/22/kelly-ayotte/most-people-trying-buy-gun-illegally-us-senator-ke/

        Approximately 80,000 people in 2010 that were denied a gun purchase as a result of a background check; 44 people were prosecuted. No crickets.

      • Submitted by Steve Rose on 01/16/2016 - 07:46 pm.

        Filtered Out by a Background Check …

        Filtered out by a background check, with no fear of prosecution for the effort, what next? Either go home without a gun or descend to a lower level of the supply chain.

        A study by the University of Chicago Crime Lab and published in 2015 in the Journal of Preventive Medicine found that so-called loop holes are not commonly used by criminals to procure guns. More than two-thirds obtained firearms from family members, or fellow gang members.

        http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091743515001486

        Abstract
        Gun violence exacts a lethal toll on public health. This paper focuses on reducing access to firearms by dangerous offenders, contributing original empirical data on the gun transactions that arm offenders in Chicago. Conducted in the fall of 2013, analysis of an open-ended survey of 99 inmates of Cook County Jail focuses on a subset of violence-prone individuals with the goal of improving law enforcement actions.
        Among our principal findings:
        *Our respondents (adult offenders living in Chicago or nearby) obtain most of their guns from their social network of personal connections. Rarely is the proximate source either direct purchase from a gun store, or theft.
        *Only about 60% of guns in the possession of respondents were obtained by purchase or trade. Other common arrangements include sharing guns and holding guns for others.
        *About one in seven respondents report selling guns, but in only a few cases as a regular source of income.
        *Gangs continue to play some role in Chicago in organizing gun buys and in distributing guns to members as needed.
        *The Chicago Police Department has a considerable effect on the workings of the underground gun market through deterrence. Transactions with strangers and less-trusted associates are limited by concerns over arrest risk (if the buyer should happen to be an undercover officer or a snitch), and about being caught with a “dirty” gun (one that has been fired in a crime).

      • Submitted by joe smith on 01/17/2016 - 10:34 am.

        Kurt

        Prosecute false background checks, 1% of folks who falsify the simple backgroung check (no need to make errors) are procecuted. Use the laws in place for illegal gun trafficing, already on the books, to go after Chicago gangs and their guns, won’t do it. How about if you are a felon and have a gun you can not plea bargain down too a charge that eliminates the gun charge (softens the jail time). Those 3 would help a lot.

      • Submitted by Steve Rose on 01/17/2016 - 09:20 pm.

        Reported on MinnPost, 20 of 22 laws not enforced

        “20 of the 22 national gun laws are not enforced

        A 2003 report from Americans for Gun Safety reveals that 20 of the 22 national gun laws are not enforced. According to U.S. Department of Justice data, only 2 percent of federal gun crimes were actually prosecuted, and 85 percent of those cases were crimes of possession. That means the people illegally selling or transporting guns are almost never being charged under the firearms statutes.

        Enforcement requires action by the justice system. And even though the U.S. Attorney’s Office is responsible for prosecuting federal crimes, state officials should not turn a blind eye toward them. However, when it comes to guns, frequently they do. One of the reasons is that many state laws are less restrictive than the federal statutes. This is the case in Minnesota, particularly as it pertains to firearm statutes designed to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.

        “https://www.minnpost.com/community-voices/2011/02/first-order-business-enforce-existing-federal-gun-laws

        It must be the cold weather; I can’t hear a single cricket.

  3. Submitted by David LaPorte on 01/16/2016 - 11:29 am.

    Enforce the laws that you have

    Every time new gun control legislation is proposed, we hear the same refrain from the NRA and their toadies: we don’t need new legislation. Just enforce the laws that you already have.

    That’s exactly what this executive order is intended to do. The NRA crowd should either embrace it or stop using that argument against new legislation.

    It’s unfortunate that this has to be done by an executive order. However, the Republicans have put Congress into gridlock. If the Democrats drafted any legislation, as Mr. Tester suggests, you can be sure that it would never be passed, no matter how much sense it made.

    Even 70% of NRA member support background checks, as do 90% of the general public. The NRA leadership doesn’t listen to their own members because they are in the pockets of the gun manufacturers.

    http://www.politifact.com/texas/statements/2013/apr/04/lee-leffingwell/lee-leffingwell-says-polls-show-90-percent-america/

  4. Submitted by Dennis Litfin on 01/16/2016 - 01:08 pm.

    Executive order ?

    Gosh, you should have told that Dennis, to your boy Geo. W. Bush, who used the executive order over 250 separate times during his time in that office…….and ‘folks back home’ know where their representatives stand already, the red ones stand with the $ from the NRA.

  5. Submitted by Steve Rose on 01/16/2016 - 02:13 pm.

    Kinda Creepy

    The work of the White House propaganda ministers:

    “An email sent last week to Tinseltown’s A-listers by Associate Director of Public Engagement at the White House Jesse Moore – titled “Artists & Entertainers Unite to #StopGunViolence” and addressed to “Family” – offered Twitter-ready talking points for showing support for President Obama’s gun control agenda. FoxNews.com, which obtained a copy of the email, compared it to tweets sent by such stars as Ashton Kutcher, and found that the stars passed the thoughts on to adoring fans with little or no ad-libbing.”

    “This seems an unprecedented abuse of White House influence to manipulate the public into believing celebrities genuinely supported the president,” said Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture at the Media Research Institute. “Hollywood is just an extension of Obama’s press office.”

    http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2016/01/13/hollywood-stars-follow-obamas-gun-control-script-tweeting-white-house-talking/

    I guess that works for actors, people whose life work is uttering words put in their mouths by others.

    Imagine the outrage from the left if this were the Bush White House using celebrities as conduit for their tweets. Kinda creepy.

  6. Submitted by David Therkelsen on 01/16/2016 - 05:48 pm.

    Executive orders

    I don’t often agree with Mr. Tester’s political positions, but I do agree on the importance of Congress initiating most policy change.
    Regrettably, though, and contrary to our civics lessons growing up, we live in a period where the Tea Party and the 1% have entirely co-opted the Congress. Under this circumstance, it is not surprising, nor in my view troublesome, that the President would use powers that he does possess to enact the will of the great majority of Americans.
    Nearly all Presidents have made use of executive orders, and we should remember that the Emancipation Proclamation was one such.

  7. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 01/17/2016 - 08:38 am.

    Legislative power

    “I don’t often agree with Mr. Tester’s political positions, but I do agree on the importance of Congress initiating most policy change.”

    What I learned in junior high civics is that our federal government is based on a system of checks and balances. If that means anything, it means that there is a certain reciprocal relationship between the branches of government, and that any vacuum caused by one branch will be filled by another.

    With a Congress essentially deadlocked by partisanship, and by a system of internally imposed rules which have limited the exercise of it’s power, isn’t this exactly what’s happening? With Congress in a state dysfunction, isn’t the inevitable result exactly what we have seen, that is the increase of power in the other two branches, the executive and the judicial branches? Isn’t this both natural, and what the founders envisioned when they created the system?

    Just consider one example. the issue presented by King v. Burwell. In that case having to do with Obamacare, the issue presented was purely a matter of statutory construction, which could have been addressed in a one page bill. Did such a bill ever emerge from Congress? No, Congress made the decision to leave the resolution of this issue to the other two branches of government, and resolve the issue is what they did.

    In the checks and balances system the founder chose for us, there is no such thing as unexercised power. If Congress doesn’t weigh in, it’s inevitable that other branches will take up the slack.

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