White House Issues Two Executive Actions on Gun Control


One would think, given how vociferously President Obama has tried limiting the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of this country, the announcement of two Executive Actions on gun control would have made a splash at the end of the year press conference. I mean, it is something that the President has been talking about for years now, and it would have certainly taken at least a few of the questions off of the disastrous rollout of healthcare.lolgov, and whether he thought 2013 was the worst year of his Presidency. Well, at least the year in which the bad stuff was reported. But, I digress.

The White House has waited until the final Friday afternoon of the President’s vacation to announce not one, but two Executive Actions. This, another attempt by the President to impose his will on an issue by usurping the checks and balances of the representative legislative process, should be met with resistance from representatives of both parties, if not on the issue, on the President’s love of taking the bypass.

Interestingly, in the release, they admit that the current background check system is highly effective, and has prevented more than 2 million people from obtaining firearms.

The actions will be carried out by the DOJ (who is already struggling to find the will to enforce the existing laws of this land), and HHS (we can only hope that the proposed regulations don’t require a website to manage). What could possibly go wrong?

Two actions are:

  • Some states have noted that the terminology used by federal law to prohibit people from purchasing a firearm for certain mental health reasons is ambiguous.  Today, DOJ is issuing a proposed rule to make several clarifications.  For example, DOJ is proposing to clarify that the statutory term “committed to a mental institution” includes involuntary inpatient as well as outpatient commitments. In addition to providing general guidance on federal law, these clarifications will help states determine what information should be made accessible to the federal background check system, which will, in turn, strengthen the system’s reliability and effectiveness.
  • Some states have also said that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s (HIPAA) privacy provisions may be preventing them from making relevant information available to the background check system regarding individuals prohibited from purchasing a firearm for mental health reasons.  In April 2013, HHS began to identify the scope and extent of the problem, and based on public comments is now issuing a proposed rule to eliminate this barrier by giving certain HIPAA covered entities an express permission to submit to the background check system the limited information necessary to help keep guns out of potentially dangerous hands.  The proposed rule will not change the fact that seeking help for mental health problems or getting treatment does not make someone legally prohibited from having a firearm.  Furthermore, nothing in the proposed rule would require reporting on general mental health visits or other routine mental health care, or would exempt providers solely performing these treatment services from existing privacy rules.

The full Press Release, cleverly dubbed “Fact Sheet,’ can be found here.

Make no mistake. Your right to bear arms is in the crosshairs of the this Administration.