Speaking in front of audience of mainly media and children today, the latter upon whom he has piled trillions of dollars of massive debt, President Barack Obama outlined his 23 proposals to move forward on gun control. Obama’s tone was by turns lecturing and hectoring, as if he is frustrated by the state of politics in Washington. It may have been an act, designed to portray how much he cares about the issue of protecting children. Or he may be frustrated that he cannot simply wave a magic scepter and brush Congress off to the side.
His 23 proposals mostly amount to a to-do list for himself and his bureaucracy. Item 11, for instance: “Appoint an ATF director.” He needed a mass killing to prompt him to do his job? Item 7, which calls for launching a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign. The National Rifle Association has been running such a campaign forever. In fact, Obama even moved the NRA’s way on securing schools, in Item 18, which calls for providing incentives for schools to hire school resource officers. Obama has cut the funding for such officers for the past couple of years now. But it’s nice to see him stop antagonizing the NRA long enough to recognize when they have a good idea, even if he fails to credit them for it.
Some of his proposals run afoul of medical privacy laws. Item 16 tries to get around those laws, “Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.” It doesn’t command them to, either. As one tweeter reacted, it’s fine if my doctor asks me about any firearm she may be thinking about buying, and I’ll be happy to tell her what I think about that firearm. The items I may or may not own is none of her business, though.
Item 8 gives his new behemoth bureaucracy something to do: “Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).” Empowering bureaucrats is always dangerous. It would have made no difference at all in the Sandy Hook massacre. None.
Item 13 is devoid of content: “Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.” Ok. Details? Just, make it so?
Some proposals will run into opposition in the Senate, on both sides of the aisle and in the medical field. If he wants a renewed assault weapons ban, he will have to fight some in his own party on that. If he really wants mental health care providers to report on their patients, there will have to be some clear guidelines or they will run the risk of lawsuits, among other side effects.
The entire list can be summed up in Item 23: “Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.”
All this drama, and that’s what Obama and Biden come up with? A national beer summit on guns?
The main things we learned from Obama’s gun announcement today is that he is playing a weak hand and he knows it, he has little ability to negotiate with anyone in either party, and that he is frustrated. Unfortunately for him but fortunately for us, the Constitution was expressly written to frustrate people like Barack Obama.