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 To paraphrase Charlton Heston from Planet of the Apes, oh my God, he’s finally gone and done it. “Administration officials told Newsweek and The Daily Beast that starting as early as next week, Obama will begin a series of changes designed to tighten [gun] regulations and penalties under current laws—bypassing a fight in Congress with the pro-gun National Rifle Association in the process.” Naw. C’mon. Really? As the ATF Gunwalker scandal continues to percolate—a cluster-you-know-what of epic proportions wherein the Bureau is known to have enabled illegal gun sales—the President is about to tighten gun sales regulations by executive fiat? Apparently so. And here are the gory details . . .

The “changes” will include:

  • A national electronic system designed to make background checks for handgun buyers simpler and faster, leaving an electronic paper trail under a law named for Ronald Reagan’s press secretary James Brady, who was wounded in the 1981 assassination attempt.
  • A new reporting requirement that federally licensed gun shops report any person who tries to buy two long-arm weapons near the Mexican border over a five-day period.
  • Tougher sentencing guidelines for straw buyers that Holder’s department pushed through procedural hoops at the U.S. Sentencing Commission earlier this year.

So, the ATF hasn’t given up on the “emergency” long gun registration scheme for 8500 or so gun dealers, introduced right around the time Gunwalker pinged in the mainstream media. [NB: under federal law, ALL federal gun registration schemes are illegal.]

And, just for S&Gs, tougher federal laws against doing what the ATF encouraged criminals to do. Unbelievable.

A White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the regulatory changes will be introduced separately, without a large ceremony, and certainly not with a branded name that could turn into attack ads, such as “White House Gun Control Initiative of 2011.”

And now you know what TTAG’s going to call this inanity.

When informed of the administration’s preparations [for the White House Gun Control Initiative of 2011], several members of Congress bristled at the plan.

Bristled? If true this is the gift that will keep on giving, motivating the right wing base in ways that the Obama mob can’t even begin to imagine—unless they remember Al Gore’s gun control-related debacle.

And now, it’s official. In a statement released today, Deputy Attorney General James Cole claimed (without so much as an arched eyebrow) that the new ATF long gun regulation will “improve the government’s ability to detect illegal weapons-trafficking networks that divert firearms to criminals.”

“The international expansion and increased violence of transnational criminal networks pose a significant threat to the United States,” Cole said. The registry will “confront the problem of illegal gun trafficking into Mexico and along the Southwest border.”

Me, I’m still in denial. I cling to the belief that this “plan” is a trial balloon designed to deflect attention away from Gunwalker. That it won’t get done ’til never. Could the Obama Administration really be this . . . this . . . dumb?

Or is it hubris, the same characteristic that cratered the Nixon Administration? As said today, as TTAG’s been saying for months, this really is Obama’s Watergate.

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  1. “Could the Obama Administration really be this . . . this . . . dumb?”

    Do not underestimate the ability of the true fanatic to do stupid things. Yes, POTUS can be that dumb. And is.

  2. Well, actually, I can’t really argue with this. I rather like that the background check can be done quicker and with less actual paper.

    The “two long gun purchases” thing is rather… frankly, bone-headed, but my ox isn’t getting gored, so I’m not overly concerned.

    I rather like that the secretive straw-buying gets nipped in the bud. If you’re buying a gun for yourself, no worries. But if you’re buying it to secretly transfer it to someone else? What happens then when if the gun gets used in an illegal manner? The cops are going to be coming and pounding down *your* door, not the guy you gave (or sold) the gun to. So put it up front: big fines and stiff prison stretches if you’re caught doing it.

    My two cents’ worth.

    • Thing is, Julia, it’s already illegal to conduct a straw purchase. The ATF that says they want stiffer penalties for it is the same organization that was ordering straw purchases to go through under Gunwalker.

      In fact, it’s suspected that Gunwalker was supposed to help build the “case” for the last two items on that list.

      And a “faster easier”, system that illegally tracks our purchases? Pushed by the same people who once shrieked in horror over the FBI seeing who checked out a library book? No thanks.

      • “My ox isn’t getting gored”.

        “First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist…”

        Or if you prefer an American: “Yes, we must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

        • You’re a fast learner Rebecca, and Caleb is absolutely right. Good on ya, gal. Fortunately for us, with this proposal for gun control by executive fiat, the White House looks like it’s going to throw itself under the short bus that it takes to school. An Oval Office firing squad if you will. As the old saying goes, make hay while the sun is shining; this could well prove to be an enormous gift to the gun rights movement despite the short term consequences.

          • Like Rebecca, I can’t take issue with a faster nationalized electronic check for gun purchases. The way we do it now is archaic, and I am still having my name and information stored in some manually maintained database.
            But the long gun restrictions in our border states is a bit hypocritical. Our government has never done much to stop the influx of illegal immigrants into the US. Mexico has vocally and unapologetically supported it. But now that they want to control gun running south of the border?
            Personally, I think practical gun laws that are relevant and that have a mutually agreed upon objective, can be a good thing. Unfortunately, it seems like the people leading the discussion on gun control are always working with an agenda that would lean toward the complete abolishment of the 2nd amendment.

    • To quote something from October, 2009:
      First they came for the machine guns, and I didn’t speak up
      because I have a Remington 700, and who needs a machine gun to
      hunt with?
      Then they came for the “assault weapons,” and I didn’t speak up
      because I have a Remington 700 and who needs an “assault weapon”
      to hunt with?
      Then they came for the .50 caliber rifles, and I didn’t speak up
      because I have a Remington 700, and who wants to hunt with a .50
      caliber rifle anyway (apart from those black powder nuts)?
      Then they came for the semiautomatic handguns, and I didn’t speak
      up because I have a Remington 700, and who hunts with a pistol?
      (Though those big-bore hunting revolvers are kinda neat, in a
      sick way.)
      Then they came for the rest of the semiautomatic rifles, and I
      didn’t speak up because I have a Remington 700, and anyone who
      needs more than one shot isn’t a real hunter.
      Then they came for the high-power sniper rifles; and even though
      my Remington 700 has a scope, and fires a round that will go
      through a car door, and I can hit the eye of an elk at 500 yards
      with it (not that I’m bragging or anything), the Second Amendment
      _says_ we can have guns for hunting, and I only use it one week a
      year for _hunting_.
      But there was no one left to speak up for me, and they took it away.

      • What is a “straw purchace” exactly?

        If I buy a firearm because it was a good deal, and sometime down the road sell or give it to a friend or family member, have I broken the rules? How long, exactly do I need to hang on to this impulse buy before I have the governments permission to let my deserving associates have it?

        • A straw purchase is when you are a person who can legally buy a gun and go out to purchase a gun to then give to someone who cannot buy a gun legally. You are basically helping them circumvent the NICS check process because they have done something in their past that precludes them from being able to own a firearm.

          You can sell or give it to a friend or family member whenever you want. Provided they are legally allowed to possess said firearm and (this is the kicker) they live in the same state as you. If they don’t live in the same state you have to send it to a FFL in their state who will run the standard background check before transferring the firearm to them.

    • My 2 coppers: are you sure that “electronic database” cannot later be “stolen” (a.k.a. “hacked”) “with evil intent”, or “made public” due some later laws regarding “public safety”? I supposed that amount of “cybercrime” should turn any Yankee into wary (if not paranoid (in good way)) person.
      Good intentions paving road to hell.

  3. A new reporting requirement that federally licensed gun shops report any person who tries to buy two long-arm weapons near the Mexican border over a five-day period

    Does this include federal agents and their minions?

  4. “The “two long gun purchases” thing is rather… frankly, bone-headed, but my ox isn’t getting gored, so I’m not overly concerned.”

    To paraphrase Yoda: “That, is why you fail”

    You being the general sense. This attitude is how much of the current gun control was passed and remains in effect.

  5. Obama: Sidestepping congressional authority to have law enforcement agencies violate federal law.

    Change we can believe in.

  6. The Firearms Owners’ Protection Act states explicitly that firearms sales may not “be recorded at or transferred to a facility owned, managed, or controlled by the United States or any state or any political subdivision thereof, nor that any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions or dispositions be established.”

    The “electronic paper trail” is being proposed in violation of existing law.

    If the Second Amendment is incorporated (as McDonald seems to suggest) the gunshop owners who are in proximity to Mexico have as much right to operate free from restraint of trade as those who conduct business in a different locale. “Equal protection” does not envision two different standards. This will provoke a Constitutional challenge.

    The straw buyers’ sentencing guidelines are going to be interpreted by the courts. If they overstep their bounds, Congress will draft FOPA II.

    With that in mind, Senator Rand Paul has introduced legislation that would strengthen the FOPA. Call your Senators and demand they support this bill.

  7. “The international expansion and increased violence of transnational criminal networks pose a significant threat to the United States,”

    it should have continued

    “which we had absolutely no hand in bringing about ourselves through our absolutely hysterical prosecution of the War on Drugs. Clearly our drug prohibition policy here does nothing to provide these gangs with immense levels of power and money which they otherwise would not have.

    We promise. Pinky swear.”

    It’s like I’m looking at the Iron Law of Intervention in real time. Government interventions leading to policy failures (they always do), and the state ratcheting up with MORE interventions.

  8. I would bet good money that if the new recording requirements for southern border States is allowed to stand it will not be long before BATFE starts bitching that “straw purchases” are now going to other States so now we (ATF) need to include ALL States in this program.

      • Think about the boiling frog thing. First the administration blamed us for “straw purchasing guns to go to Mexico” which tried to demonize law-abiding gun owners…and it turned out THEY were the ones doing it. Then the administration says we need “commonsense gun laws” where we have THOUSANDS already. The heat just got turned up a bit more…

        My two year old does things and then tries to blame the cat, just like gunwalker and the Feds and us. It takes ignorance or unbelievable arrogance to try to pull that off. My 2 year old is ignorant, what are Obama and their ilk…

  9. This is exactly why I pay my annual NRA dues. The Obama administration will implement this change which if I read it correctly will indeed violate current Federal law. The NRA will sue in Federal court and obtain an injunction until the Circuit Court can rule in Obama’s favor and then the NRA will take it to the Supreme Court just in time for the November 2012 elections. This should make another wonderful issue to discuss during the campaign and it will be interesting to see if any Democrats up for re-election dare support the President on this. Political suicide if they do!

    • And the SCOTUS will rule against the NRA – unless they just decide that the NRA has no standing to sue. Remember, the majority of the SCOTUS is owned and operated by the RadRight, whoa re taking orders from the ‘elites’ who want the country to be disarmed, as Germany was disarmed, and Poland, and Russia, and Italy, and… For that matter, when the the New Orleans cops broke into homes and assaulted the owners to disarm them, there were no consequences, nor are there any when SWAT teams bust into the wrong houses, attack suspects who turn out to be totally innocent and who subsequently DIE, or even ordinary cops horrendously beat and/or murder innocent people on the streets. It was an Indiana judge I think who ruled that Americans have no inherent right to self-defense IF it turns out that the people breaking into your home in the middle of the night turn out to be police. I gather we’re supposed to ask for ID before we go get our weapons, get the trigger locks off, then go to the other room where our ammo is supposed to be kept, well away from the firearms, unlock the ammo safe it’s supposed to be in, load up and THEN get back to the attackers. If they turn out to be the Bad Guys, that is.

      I’m a vet, now disabled and in constant (chronic) pain who joined in time of war like the rest of my family and ancestors, including my mother, who had time in the European Theater. I’m a former paramedic, did volunteer work for the Poison Control Center at local hospital in mushroom poisoning cases (until the VA crippled me by destroying the regimen that had allowed me to function almost normally for eight years, almost killing me and contributing to my wife’s very early death thereby). I do Trap/Neuter/Return of feral cats that irresponsible people abandon, and feed them meanwhile to keep them out of people’s garbage and so on; I trap and relocate skunks that move in under people’s houses, I have an absolutely perfect, that is, a totally clean, record (not bad for 56 years), and I’m too damned soft-hearted for my own good sometimes. Nonetheless, I know the Constitution fairly well, and “…shall not be infringed” means what it says no matter what some mealy-mouthed politician, illegal law or chickenshit fool who thinks that guns kill people all by themselves think. Every law to slows or makes gun ownership more difficult is, as the law is written, illegal, and while politicians seem to have no difficulty believing that passing a law can make wrong right, make up down and turn black white or vice-versa, my own mind is simply not that flexible. I also have six kids and a wife that I love very much to protect since this past June, and I’m very, VERY narrow-minded when it comes to their safety and well-being.


  10. Let’s get busy people, Google only returns 4 hits so far on “White House Gun Control Initiative of 2011.” Let’s get it in the mainstream and watch them squirm.

  11. This is it? Sorry, people, but if you’re bitching about this then it’s a good thing. It could be a lot, lot worse. There are Republican Presidents that have instuted much more stringent controls (Regan, Bush I).

    • As we’ve seen in the past though you can’t give these people an inch. As soon as you concede one of their irrational arguments they use that as a bludgeon to make you concede the next one.

  12. But he hasn’t “finally gone and done it.” they’re jumping the gun and so are you. i think the appropriate movie quote here comes from Spaceballs.

  13. On the federal level the Democrats have largely stayed away from gun control since Gore lost in 2000. As much as they like to bitch about “Bush v. Gore” in the USSC the more level headed strategists know that if Gore had managed to carry his own home state it would never have gotten to court in the first place. And they know that gun control is a big reason he lost it.

    When it comes to his own self-preservation Obama is not a stupid man. For him to start on any kind of gun control now, no matter how low-profile, he must be in much more trouble with his base than I thought was possible.

  14. So. Authorities and agents in law enforcement intentionally violate the laws they’re duty bound to enforce, coerce otherwise law-abiding Citizens into acting as co-conspirators in their criminal acts–Citizens whom, under any other circumstances would be arrested and charged with crimes themselves–all under the guise of assisting law-enforcement in catching, uh, well, criminals.
    The net effect results in putting guns into the hands of known criminals, ( all at taxpayer’s expense mind you ) and both innocent people and law enforcement personnel are wounded and killed.
    When a few dutiful and honest persons involved can no longer tolerate the outcome of crimes committed and the whole sordid affair comes to light, now someone is to be held accountable. Whom and for what, exactly?

    Now the last person granted any authority whatsoever to enact any ‘gun control laws’ from the federal level–which honest historians will rightfully, and by all rights ought to hail as the greatest con-man-in-chief to have ever occupied the position as POTUS since the formation of the Republic, wants to implement new ‘gun control laws’?
    Do tell.

    I’m certain there to be at least one or two principles involved here, but I’ll admit to currently being at somewhat of a loss as to how to sufficiently define them.
    Then again, the general rule is ‘people do whatever they do because they can, and criminals do what they do because they believe they can get away with it.’
    History is, of course on the side of criminals in government, having clearly shewn that officials, authorities, representatives and the like are, in fact, the most likely to succeed in nearly all of their criminal enterprises.

    • Coerce otherwise law-abiding Citizens?? The fact that the where straw-purchaser means that are not law-abiding. If it is the gun store owners you are talking about maybe. But I do not think any of them are going to jail or have lost their FFL. RF would know more.

      I do not think ATF stopped John Doe citizen on the street and told them to go to Bob Guns store and buy guns and then sell them to the cartels

  15. I think most of us are missing the point of all this.This is classic Marxism at its best.This administration breaks all common sense laws,then enacts more laws that are designed to make us more accountable….all done to upset the applecart and keep us watching the front door while they come in the back door and continue to destroy our established norms,cause chaos,get us all angry,etc…Those in Congress should be acting in defense of the Declaration of Independance and Constitution and run this rabble out of town immediately while there is still some semblance of sanity left.

  16. Todd AF Vet; Thank You For Your Service!

    Apologies for my lack of clarity. The otherwise law-abiding Citizens to whom I referred were the Federally Licensed Firearm dealers the agents coerced into completing sales of firearms to people they would not have sold firearms to otherwise. One matter for law enforcement officers to themselves violate the laws, another matter entirely to manipulate Citizens into doing what they knew to be Morally wrong, in addition to violating the laws.
    I say ‘coerced’ based on a report which indicated that one of the business owners wisely requested a signed letter stating the illegal sales were officially authorized, and difficulty on my part in imagining legitimate business owners wouldn’t have serious reservations about being positioned between government agents on the one hand and gun runners connected with drug cartels on the other.

    While it’s true that the Immoral and Conscienceless can justify most any act, the decent, honest individuals the agents manipulated into becoming involved in this will undoubtedly, at the very least, have considerable difficulty reconciling within themselves what has occurred as a result.

  17. I was at my local sheriffs office today to have some NFA form 4 applications endorsed today. He told there are additional provisions being considered by the Obama administration including a proposed Executive Order which would require reporting personally owned firearms on the federal IRS 1040 with a $50 ea fee and making failure to report owned firearms felony tax evasion.

    Has anyone else heard anything like this?
    My local sheriff is very pro gun and he was dead serious about this.

    • Jay, I’m reluctant to doubt anything about Obama and his penchant for executive orders any more, because he seems both brazen and relentless in his quest to give the USA a Socialist makeover. Having said that, if this were true, I am absolutely certain you’d hear groups like the NRA and the other gun advocacy groups both foaming at the mouth and using the news to raise alarms and money to fight it. Since they are not, I suspect it’s a rumor without substance. But doing a little more digging, I think perhaps this may be an updated version of an Internet Urban Legend that circulated a couple of years back. Check out this link, and see if you agree.

  18. Sounds like a lot of the “new” proposals aren’t even new; but I do like the idea of faster checks and approvals, as well as more severe penalties for criminals who break those laws.

    As for Operation Fast & Furious and Project Gunrunner, I wish folks would quit lying about its origins. Both the operation and project were started in 2005 and 2006; so how they could be Obama’s Watergate still escapes me. The fact of the matter is, had an agent been killed in the first 3 years of the operation instead of the following 3 years, this would have gone public then and it would have been Bush’s mess to clean up.

    If you want to criticize the Obama Administration for not putting a halt to an operation and project originally designed and employed by the Bush Administration, fine, that’s fair. But please stop lying about who’s responsible for and who started what; because ultimately the truth about the origins comes out, and it then becomes counter-productive to the goals of 2nd Amendment advocates when people find out those advocates and supporters have been dishonest all along.

    Dishonesty ALWAYS marginalizes the message; because people start focusing on the validity of the criticism and the integrity of the sources of that criticism, instead of concentrating on the message itself.

    If you’re a supporter of 2nd Amendment rights, as I am, and you continue to knowingly promote a lie to further your goal, you are actually doing a disservice to that cause and jeopardizing our chance for success… it becomes more likely we’ll get the opposite of our desired result. People don’t like to be lied to; and that can alter positions and support faster than any other single character defect.

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