The Hill is reporting that there’s some movement on gun control from the White House. The Obama administration has had terrible results when trying to enact gun control legislation the legal way — through Congress and by passing new laws — so the rumor of the day is that his administration is preparing to use executive powers to change the policies of the government agencies under his control to enact some of those new restrictions anyway. From The Hill:
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.
Some of these proposals are already out in the light of day.
The rule change for domestic violence is scheduled for a final action in November of 2015, for example, following a comment period that closed in 1998. Exactly what that entails no one really knows, since the only reference to that rule change was in an ATF circular dated from 1998 that no one has really seen since.
The rule change for secure gun storage is also on the register now, but the exact nature of the change is still yet to be revealed. There’s an existing law that requires gun locks to be made available to firearms purchasers, but how far the ATF wants to bend that rule is still unknown. The comment period for that rule is set to open in about a month.
As for the definition of a “pistol,” the proposal for that change has apparently been in the works since 2005 and is just now coming to action. Its extremely murky trying to decipher the specific rule change being made, as once again the only text we have on that is from an obscure ATF circular from 2005. It is entirely possible that this might be an attempt to re-classify AR-15 pistols as something else entirely, so stay tuned.
The question really is one of what we’re not seeing. The broad strokes are pretty well laid out, but the devil is in the details. Some of the proposed rule changes are so old that there’s no documentation on them whatsoever that I can find, which makes it difficult to see what’s going on behind the curtain. And beyond that, figuring out what has yet to be revealed is impossible.
There’s no doubt that legislative action on gun control is pretty much dead in the water for the next few years, so it makes sense that the now extremely lame duck president would want to try and cram as much of his agenda as possible down American’s throats before he leaves. The problem is that this president — who campaigned on a platform of transparency and honesty — is making these policy changes pretty much behind closed doors and without the input of Americans.