I was writing an article for another publication about President Obama’s executive orders and presidential memoranda in response to the Newtown shootings; I was struck by how completely trivial nearly all of them were.
Many of them were essentially orders to the federal bureaucracy to enforce existing laws (such as requiring executive-branch departments to inform the national background check system that a person is prohibited from owning a firearm under existing law), or to take uncontroversial steps such as tracing the history of firearms confiscated in crimes.
It appears Obama is doing what he does best: he knows that the actions requiring congressional approval are unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled House (and possibly even the Democrat-controlled Senate), but he still throws a bone to a vocal and wealthy constituency.
One proposal from Obama enforces the likelihood of this strategy, yet also — once again — suggests that those surrounding him are not the sharpest crayons in the box. The request, which requires congressional approval: “Protect police by finishing the job of getting rid of armor-piercing bullets.”
I scratched my head for a few minutes on this one, because current federal law already makes it a crime to manufacture, import, sell, or transfer “armor-piercing ammunition” except to the government or for export. (See 18 USC 922 (A) (7) and (8).)
The definition of “armor-piercing ammunition” under federal law means ammunition that is capable of being fired from a handgun, and can penetrate soft body armor. Such ammunition uses a bullet constructed of a hard metal such as tungsten or uranium, or the hard metal jacket of the bullet is more than 25% of the bullet’s weight.
The reason that this definition applies only to handgun ammunition is that all center-fire rifle ammunition, regardless of bullet design, will penetrate soft body armor.
It is certainly possible that Obama wants to ban all center-fire rifle ammunition as well. Certainly, the gun-control groups have shown a great willingness to use these dishonest tactics to achieve their goals. The net effect of such a ban, however, would be to eliminate all hunting of deer and larger animals throughout the United States.
Former President Clinton recently reminded Democrats that the 1993 Brady Law and the 1994 federal assault weapons ban played a major part in turning both House and Senate over to the Republican Party. To pass an effective ban on hunting by banning hunting ammunition would make that seem like brilliant politics by comparison.
Let me suggest a more likely explanation: President Obama and the people that work for him have very limited contact with ordinary Americans.