Earlier this week, President Obama met with a small bunch of mayors, many of them of the “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” ilk, assuring them that he intended to follow through on his promise to ‘act where Congress won’t’ on furthering top-down gun-control statutes via ‘executive action.’ True to form, and with virtually no chance of the failed gun-control measures of earlier this year gaining any more steam from the legislative branch, the White House today unveiled a couple of new moves to continue to highlight President Obama’s bold crusade to Do Something in the face of such spiteful Congressional obstructionism. Via the AP:
Vice President Joe Biden, Obama’s point-man on gun control after the Newtown tragedy thrust guns into the national spotlight, unveiled the new actions Thursday at the White House.
“It’s simple, it’s straightforward, it’s common sense,” Biden said in the Roosevelt Room.
One new policy will end a government practice that lets military weapons, sold or donated by the U.S. to allies, be reimported into the U.S. by private entities, where some may end up on the streets. The White House said the U.S. has approved 250,000 of those guns to be reimported since 2005; under the new policy, only museums and a few other entities like the government will be eligible to reimport military-grade firearms.
The Obama administration is also proposing a federal rule to stop those who would be ineligible to pass a background check from skirting the law by registering certain guns, like machine guns and short-barreled shotguns, to a corporation or trust. The new rule would require people associated with those entities, like beneficiaries and trustees, to undergo the same type of fingerprint-based background checks as individuals if they want to register those types of guns.
This is in addition, by the way, to the 23 executive actions the White House outlined for President Obama to take last January, out of which the White House says they have “completed or made significant progress” on 22 of them — but similar to those actions, these new ones sound like much ado over not a lot of substance.
Criminals reliably use handguns, not “military-grade firearms,” to perpetrate violence — when’s the last time a civilian started firing off a “machine” gun in “our streets,” whether or not it was registered through an NFA trust or corporation? The biggest potential power-grab I can see is the Obama administration taking unwonted liberties with the definition of “military weapons,” and disallowing even smaller and common firearms from being reimported after their military use, but in terms of actually helping to address domestic gun violence, this is a lot of tilting at windmills.