The old leftist writer, Gore Vidal, once famously said, “You know, I’ve been around the ruling class all my life, and I’ve been quite aware of their total contempt for the people of the country.” This line rang in my ears as I read about what the Obama Administration has been up to lately. The Administration, fresh from its foreign policy “successes” in Yemen, Libya, Syria, and Iraq, has decided to focus its energies back on domestic politics. The Hill reports that, undeterred by the Constitution or by past experience the Administration has decided that what American needs most at this moment is: more firearms regulations . . .
The Justice Department plans to move forward this year with more than a dozen new gun-related regulations, according to list of rules the agency has proposed to enact before the end of the Obama administration.
The regulations range from new restrictions on high-powered pistols to gun storage requirements. Chief among them is a renewed effort to keep guns out of the hands of people who are mentally unstable or have been convicted of domestic abuse….
The Justice Department plans to issue new rules expanding criteria for people who do not qualify for gun ownership, according to the recently released Unified Agenda, which is a list of rules that federal agencies are developing.
Some of the rules come in response to President Obama’s call to reduce gun violence in the wake of Sandy Hook. He issued 23 executive actions shortly after the shooting aimed at keeping guns away from dangerous people, and some of those items remain incomplete….
The Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is looking to revive a rule proposed way back in 1998 that would block domestic abusers from owning guns.
As proposed, the regulation makes it illegal for some who has been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense to own a gun.
The ATF plans to finalize the rule by November, according to the Unified Agenda. But gun rights advocates are concerned the Obama administration will use this rule to unfairly target certain gun owners.
“That could be a person who spanked his kid, or yelled at his wife, or slapped her husband,” warned Michael Hammond, legislative counsel for the Gun Owners of America….
The ATF is also looking to prohibit the mentally ill from owning firearms, which is attracting even more criticism from gun rights groups.
“The Obama administration is trying very hard to disqualify people from owning a gun on the basis that they are seeing a psychologist,” Hammond argued….
Aside from these issues, some gun rights advocates have also raised concerns about upcoming ATF rules that would require gun dealers to report gun thefts, provide gun storage and safety devices, and place restrictions on high-powered pistols, among other things.
“The Obama administration hates the Second Amendment, and it’s clear that every place where it can push, it will,” said Hammond. “This is an indication of an anti-gun administration trying to annoy us in any way it can.”
I can’t say I disagree with Mr. Hammon. Not only is the president disdainful of the Second Amendment, but he and his ideological fellow travellers, such as the billionaire plutocrat Michael Bloomberg and Hillary Clinton, simply have no use for the people who own firearms and who support the right to keep and bear arms. The president has made this disdain clear before he took the oath of office.
I suspect that he and his administration are desperate to put some points on the board (for egotistical ‘legacy’ purposes if nothing else,) in light of all of the reverses he’s suffered lately, so why not throw a bunch of regulations that primarily impact people who are opposed to him anyway, and see what sticks? All the more so because of the dysfunctional political attitudes that many in this country have, if a proposal makes the right people angry, that’s all that matters.
We already mentioned the regulation concerning the NFA trusts on Friday. That was far from the only one. In the interests of public knowledge, I’ve copied the list of firearms-related rules changes below. (Amazingly, one of them — concerning the 90 day residency requirement for resident aliens purchasing a firearm — appears to loosen a restriction because the DoJ concluded that they didn’t have the authority to do it. I’m sure that was just an oversight.)
* Title: Possession or Introduction of Personal Firearms Prohibited on Federal Penal or Correctional Institution Grounds — To help ensure the safe operation of Federal prisons, this document would address possession or introduction of personal firearms, or attempting, aiding, or abetting possession or introduction of personal firearms, on Federal penal or correctional institution grounds.
* Title: Machine Guns, Destructive Devices, and Certain Other Firearms–Amended Definition of “Pistol” — This rule would propose to amend the regulations relating to machine guns, destructive devices, and certain other firearms regulated under the National Firearms Act (NFA) for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to clarify the definition of the term “pistol” and to define more clearly exceptions to the “pistol” definition.
* Title: Commerce in Firearms and Ammunition (Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997) — The Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997 contained amendments to the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA). The Act amended the GCA to make it unlawful for any person convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” to ship, transport, possess, or receive in or affecting commerce firearms or ammunition. It also amended the GCA to make it unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of a firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that the recipient has been convicted of such a misdemeanor. The Act also amended the GCA to provide for sales between Federal firearms licensees of curio and relic firearms away from their licensed premises.
* Title: Residency Requirement for Persons Acquiring Firearms — This rule finalizes the interim regulations that require a firearms purchaser’s affirmative statement of his or her State of residence on ATF Form 4473 (Firearms Transaction Record) when acquiring a firearm from a Federal firearms licensee.
* Title: Public Law 105-277, Making Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for FY 1999 Relating to Firearms Disabilities for Nonimmigrant Aliens — This rule would finalize an interim final rule issued in February 2002 under Public Law 105-277, Making Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations, for fiscal year 1999. The rule would address the statutory prohibition, with certain exceptions, on the transfer to and possession of firearms by aliens admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa.
* Title: Federal Firearms License Proceedings–Hearings — This rule would amend the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives regarding administrative hearings held as part of firearms license proceedings to ensure that Federal firearms licensees and persons applying for a Federal firearms license are familiar with the hearing process relative to the denial or revocation of a firearms license or, when authorized, the suspension of such a license or imposition of a civil fine.
* Title: Commerce in Firearms and Ammunition–Reporting Theft or Loss of Firearms in Transit — The Department of Justice is planning to propose amendments to the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) regarding firearms stolen or lost in transit.
* Title: Machine Guns, Destructive Devices and Certain Other Firearms; Background Checks for Responsible Persons of a Corporation, Trust, or Other Legal Entity With Respect to Making or Transferring a Firearm — The Department of Justice is planning to finalize a proposed rule to amend the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) regarding the making or transferring of a firearm under the National Firearms Act. As proposed, the rule would; (1) add a definition for the term “responsible person”; (2) require each responsible person of a corporation, trust or legal entity to complete a specified form, and to submit photographs and fingerprints; and (3) modify the requirements regarding the certificate of the chief law enforcement officer (CLEO).
* Residency Requirements for Aliens Acquiring Firearms — This rule would finalize the interim final rule published on June 7, 2012 by removing the 90-day State residency requirement for aliens lawfully present in the United States to purchase or acquire a firearm. The Department has determined that the Gun Control Act does not permit ATF to impose a regulatory requirement that aliens lawfully present in the United States are subject to a 90-day State residency requirement when such a requirement is not applicable to U.S. citizens.
* Amended Definition of “Adjudicated as a Mental Defective” and “Committed to a Mental Institution” — The Department of Justice is planning to propose amendments to the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to clarify terms in 18 USC 922(g)(4).
* Title: Identification Markings Placed on Firearm Silencers and Firearm Mufflers — The Department of Justice is planning to propose to amend the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to require licensed manufacturers and licensed importers to place identification markings on the outer tube of firearm silencers and firearm mufflers. The proposed regulations are intended to allow for identification markings to be placed conspicuously and legibly in one location providing consistency throughout the industry.
DISCLAIMER: The above is an opinion piece; it is not legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship in any sense. If you need legal advice in any matter, you are strongly urged to hire and consult your own counsel. This post is entirely my own, and does not represent the positions, opinions, or strategies of my firm or clients.