Straight talk and facts on The President's gun control proposals to combat FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt)...

The “gun enthusiasts” have been running around claiming that “the government” “wants to take away all of our guns!” as well as trying to divert attention away from the reasoned, serious discussion of the best way to “ensure domestic tranquility” and “provide for the common defense” (both from the Preamble to The Constitution and, thus, the very purpose of it, not an afterthought).

I first point out that, [emphasis is mine] according to Article 1, section 8, “The Congress shall have the power to:

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

In Article 1, section 9

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time. (more on this later as it is relevant in a way that is not immediately clear).

In Article II, section 2:

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.

In Article III, section 3:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

Now to discuss the possible actions proposed by the Biden Commission. Contrary to the cries of fear, very little actually has to do with any restrictions on gun ownership.

Eight of the 23 executive actions proposed involve mental health:

"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.

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

16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors 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.

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 Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health."

Among the proposals for Congress to enact, there are additional Mental health initiatives:

The Department of Health and Human Services later this year will issue a rule to implement the Mental Health Parity Act, which equalizes mental health services and access with other "traditional" forms of medical care. This is to expand the coverage and availability of mental health services to vulnerable populations. Also, the president will call for more training for mental health professionals and school counselors and may provide some federal funds for this goal. He will also seek better mental health training for first responders so they might detect mental health problems or warning signs."

Research on gun violence

In addition to his proposals for directly legislating access to guns and ammunition, Mr. Obama is has suggested he'll make a push for expanding the research opportunities on gun violence. On Monday, Ne York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who founded Mayors Against Illegal Drugs, released a scathing report on how the gun lobby has facilitated a decrease in federal funding for the research and prevention of gun violence. For instance, the report says the Center for Disease Control's budget on firearm injury prevention has decreased by 96 percent in the past two decades, and that the Justice Department -- which funded 32 studies on gun violence in the early 1990s -- has funded no studies on gun violence in the past four years. Biden suggested last week that the White House is looking to change that trend.

"Among the initiatives outlined in Mr. Obama's plan include ..., and ensuring that health insurance plans cover mental health benefits"

Six of the Executive Actions proposed address strengthening background checks:

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 rulemaking 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.

Proposals for Congress to enact regarding background checks:

Federal funds for national background checks

Obama will also call for increased federal funds to improve the national background check system for gun purchases. That would mean money for more personnel to answer phones when background checks are made, more agents to inspect licensed firearms dealers, and to fully fund promises made in legislation passed after the Virginia Tech massacre, which gives states money to collect and document mental health data in the national background check database.

Universal background checks

In meetings with stakeholders about reducing gun violence last week, Biden stressed what he called a "surprising recurrence of suggestions that we have universal background checks" for gun owners across the nation. Now, the idea of universal criminal and mental health background checks for all firearms sales is emerging as the central priority in the president's campaign. Currently, criminal background checks are required only for guns sold through licensed firearm dealers, which according to the Campaign to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) account for only 60 percent of gun sales in the United States. One loophole also allows those not "engaged in the business" of gun selling to peddle firearms without a license or without filing any paperwork -- which means that, according to the CSGV, only three of every five guns are sold in conjunction with background checks. Today, Mr. Obama will urge lawmakers to help shore up those loopholes.

Seven of the Executive Actions proposed address education, training, and safety:

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

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

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.

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

Only one of the Executive Actions proposed is related to stepping up law enforcement:

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

One of the Executive Actions proposed actually [loosely] follows the NRA's suggestion, although it does not mention “armed'.

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

Proposals for Congress to enact on actual gun control:

Assault weapons ban

Congress passed the original assault weapons ban in 1994, thus imposing a 10-year ban on 19 types of military-style assault weapons, including semi-automatic rifles and pistols like AK-47s and Uzis. But the provision, which was originally authored by then-Sen. Biden, languished in Congress when it was up for reauthorization, and subsequent efforts to reinstate it have fallen short. Mr. Obama has long supported reinstating the ban, but his current efforts mark the first time in his presidency that he's made a hard legislative push to get the law back in the books. According to White House sources, Mr. Obama's weapons ban will be tougher than the one that expired in 2004 is closely aligned with the legislation being drafted by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., though even some Democrats - including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. - are skeptical such a law can make its way through Congress in the face of strong opposition from the National Rifle Association.

Ban on high-capacity magazines

One issue that has surfaced in the wake of recent mass shootings is the legality of high-capacity ammunition magazines, which can enable a shooter to fire off dozens of rounds of ammunition without having to reload. The prevalence of these kinds of clips in recent shootings -- including this summer's movie theater rampage in Aurora, Colo., as well as the recent massacre in Newtown, Conn. -- has led to a chorus of cries that they be banned. CBS News has learned the White House will push for magazines to be capped at 10 bullets per.

It is notable that in some cases of mass shootings, the shooter was subdued by citizens while reloading. It is also notable that in at least one case, a citizen that disarmed the shooter was almost killed by “a good guy with a gun” responding to the gunfire with gun drawn.

These are the facts as reported by the major, generally trusted news agencies and should carry more weight in the reader's mind than the ambiguous “warnings” of “gun enthusiasts”.

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Comment by Vincent Wright on January 19, 2013 at 6:37pm

Very well reasoned post, Paul A community of professionals focused on brand strategy for brand energy.

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