Is This a Surprise? White House Considering Broad Gun Control Measures, Including Executive Orders

White House weighs broad gun-control


The Washington Post

By Philip Rucker

The White House is weighing a far broader and more comprehensive approach to curbing the nation’s gun violence than simply reinstating an expired ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition, according to multiple people involved in the administration’s discussions.

A working group led by Vice President Biden is seriously considering measures backed by key law enforcement leaders that would require universal background checks for firearm buyers, track the movement and sale of weapons through a national database, strengthen mental health checks, and stiffen penalties for carrying guns near schools or giving them to minors, the sources said.

To sell such changes, the White House is developing strategies to work around the National Rifle Association that one source said could include rallying support from Wal-Mart and other gun retailers for measures that would benefit their businesses. White House aides have also been in regular contact with advisers to New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I), an outspoken gun-control advocate who could emerge as a powerful surrogate for the Obama administration’s agenda.

The Biden group, formed last month after the massacre at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school that killed 20 children and six adults, plans to submit a package of recommendations to President Obama this month. Once Obama’s proposals are set, he plans to lead a public-relations offensive to generate popular support.

“They are very clearly committed to looking at this issue comprehensively,” said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, who has been involved in the discussions. The proposals under consideration, he added, are “a deeper exploration than just the assault-weapons ban.”

The gun-control push is just one part of an ambitious political agenda that Obama has pledged to pursue after his decisive reelection victory in November, including comprehensiveimmigration reform, climate-change legislation and long-term deficit reduction. Obama also faces a reshuffling of his Cabinet, and a looming debate over the nation’s debt ceiling that will compete for his time and attention in the coming months.

Seeking expansive mandate

In addition to potential legislative proposals, Biden’s group has expanded its focus to include measures that would not need congressional approval and could be quickly implemented by executive action, according to interest-group leaders who have discussed options with Biden and key Cabinet secretaries. Possibilities include changes to federal mental-health programs and modernization of gun-tracking efforts by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Read more here.)


  • Sus

    “A working group led by Vice President Biden is seriously considering measures backed by key law enforcement leaders that would require universal background checks for firearm buyers, track the movement and sale of weapons through a national database, strengthen mental health checks, and stiffen penalties for carrying guns near schools or giving them to minors, the sources said.”

    I hope these measures become laws. Especially giving/leaving guns unsecured to minors.

    Own all the guns you want, but make sure they never get in the hands of someone who will do something illegal with them. If they aren’t secured and used illegally, the owner should be liable criminally.

    • Percy

      “Own all the guns you want, but make sure they never get in the hands of someone who will do something illegal with them. If they aren’t secured and used illegally, the owner should be liable criminally.”

      If someone steals your car or any of your possesions and used it to commit crime you should be held criminally liable, too.

      • Sus

        No, cars are not manufactured for the purpose of killing like guns are.

        • Kevin

          Yet more people die each year from car accidents than firearm deaths. Strange how that works.

          • Sus

            There goes rationality. Car accidents have nothing to do with guns and deaths via guns.

    • Dave

      “Own all the guns you want, but make sure they never get in the hands of someone who will do something illegal with them. If they aren’t secured and used illegally, the owner should be liable criminally.”

      I actually somewhat agree with this. They should be secured reasonably. If someone has a gun safe, and an intruder breaks in while the family is gone and opens the safe with a torch, they shouldn’t be liable. But if the guns are just laying around, I wouldn’t have a problem with them being criminally liable.

    • James Gonzales

      If a person steals your car and uses it to commit a crime or kill someone, I wouldn’t have a problem with YOU being held criminally liable….. If a person breaks into a home where a firearm is kept, that firearm WAS secured…. THe criminal broke in and stole it…. Why should the owner be responsible for the criminal actions of another person?

  • neenergyobserver

    On this issue they are coming perilously close, even with Congressional approval, without it’s worse, to fomenting a full scale civil war. I’m not saying it will happen but, given the mood I’m sensing it is far from impossible as it has been all our lives.

    They’ve made far too many attacks on far too many Constitutional rights for a lot of Americans to let this slide.

    I see this as a very dangerous provocation.

  • Will

    It is past time to have a rational discussion of this issue, but I wonder if that is possible for some.

    • Sus

      Gun control discussions do bring out the irrational. With the hate for Obama from the right and now gun control, there’s no way it will be rational. The NRA will make sure it isn’t rational and will paint Obama as the Hitler of 2013.

      Very sad for our country.

    • neenergyobserver

      Very much so. A rational discussion will diffuse it very quickly.

      And Sus, no, there is very little actual hate for Obama as a man out there, what there is is a very deep distrust that he has the interests of American citizens as his focus. If you read those of us talking about this on the right what you will find is an overwhelming sadness that trust in government is so low. It is the progressives who have brought at least close to a majority of the citizenry to this point. They have very nearly sown the wind, and if they don’t desist soon they are very likely to reap the whirlwind, and standing between will simply put you in the crossfire.

      • Sus

        I see what you are saying. I do see lots of hatred for our president that I’ve never seen before. Some of it his is race. It was shown in comments on this blog with the talk about “shucking and jiving”. Because of that, there is nothing Obama can do to please these people. He could say he’s changing his political party and all his ideas to Republican. The Republicans would then change their party to get away from him.

        It isn’t Obama’s fault for the distrust in the government. The problems and lies began long before he became president.

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          Sus, I agree with you that Obama did not cause the mistrust in government. This began a long time ago, and was greatly exacerbated by things like the Vietnam War, the Nixon resignation and many, many other things since. However, President Obama has dead flat lied to both the American people and Congress about core things having to do with his administration, including his “promise” that religious organizations would not be coerced to violate their principles by the Affordable Health Care Act.

          The HHS Mandate made him a total liar about that.

          He also said publicly after the murders in Aurora that he would not seek gun control as a solution. He said this same thing when he was running for president in 2008. The major thing that changed wasn’t the tragedy at Sandy Hook. It was an election. Now that he doesn’t have to run for re-election, that promise is no longer something he feels he has to keep. Somehow or other, people who believed him and feel cheated by his lies are the ones who are thought wrong, not him.

          I am not saying that we shouldn’t look at our gun control laws. But I am saying that President Obama has attacked religious freedom in a manner that I never thought I would live to see in America, and that he lied to do it. I am also saying that he lied — and I think lied deliberately — when he said he would not try to pass gun control while he was running for office.

          President Obama did not “cause” mistrust of government, but his callous disregard for his own promises to the American people has certainly added to it.

          • Sus

            Good points about Vietnam and Nixon’s resignation. I was more thinking of Bush II but what you cited is important to include in the equation.

            While I don’t agree with the HHS Mandate, I do think people are asking for it. There’s a huge faction of people in the US that do not live their lives religiously – even those people that belong to a church. Using Catholicism as an example, there many Catholics that use birth control and support gay marriage. Obama is reacting to what the people want. The same goes for other organized religions.

            I don’t think that we can say Obama lied about gun control after the Aurora shootings. The Sandy Hook incident hadn’t taken place yet. I don’t be begrudge Obama’s right to change his mind. Gun control doesn’t necessarily mean anyone will take away their guns. It could mean laws that say if you own guns, you must secure them. If your unsecured gun is used in a crime, then you are held liable and will be criminally prosecuted.

            • neenergyobserver

              Thank you, Rebecca, and yes these things are additive. Many of us involved in gun rights are also conservative Christians, which of course you know. I also agree with your analysis, although even yours may be too short term.

              With reference to the HHS mandate, it does NOT matter what people want, like subverting the 2d amendment, religious freedom is a fundamental constitutional right. Constitutional rights are analogous to the doctrine of the church, they are very very fundamental, and not to be tampered with.

              The problem nearly always (Sandy Hook is sort of an exception) with guns used in crimes is that they are not guns owned in a legal sense they have been underground for a while. If you look at the statistics gun crime in both Australia and Great Britain has increased since they banned gun ownership.

              But the debate is not about gun crime, it is about constitutional rights being abrogated, often by decree, and a large plurality of the population finds that completely unacceptable.

              • Sus

                “The problem nearly always (Sandy Hook is sort of an exception) with guns used in crimes is that they are not guns owned in a legal sense they have been underground for a while. ”

                All guns start off legal unless someone is illegally manufacturing a gun. Closing the gaps like gun shows where criminals can get guns wouldn’t violate the 2nd amendment.

                If there are a few hoops that I have to go through to buy guns, I wouldn’t care.

                • neenergyobserver

                  I sort of agree with you but, it comes back to that very deep-seated distrust that many Americans have for the government. And in truth, it’s not very hard to manufacture a crude gun anyway, happens in prisons all the time.

            • Ted Seeber

              I actually agree with you Sus. Obama, like Hitler, is first and foremost a politician. He is using “what people want” (well, what irrational atheists want) to grab power for the Executive. The real danger in the HHS Mandate isn’t the threat to religious liberty, and it isn’t contraception. The real threat is an Executive being rubber-stamped by the courts to pass bureaucratic rules that have the force of law without the involvement of Congress.

              If you think the next Republican won’t build on that to free the banks to more usury, then you don’t really understand the danger.

              • Sus

                It isn’t just irrational atheists that want it. Catholics and other people that belong to other religions want it too. Obviously, not all, but some.

        • Dave

          You’re still on that “shuck and jive” thing even after it was shown that it is not always used as a racist term? You’re kind of hitting my hot button here. It’s EVIL, yes, EVIL, to accuse someone of racism or some other sin, unless you KNOW FOR SURE that someone is using a phrase in a racist way.

          • Sus

            I read the post where “shucking and jiving” supposedly wasn’t a racist term. I disagree. It is a racist term and should not be used in regards to our President.

            • Dave

              I’m not sure where you got the authority to declare what is and is not a racist phrase, but you might want to think about that. Just because something was used in a racist way in your experience does not make the point universally valid.

  • Dave

    I don’t think gun control is a good idea and will cause more harm than it solves. It could even start a civil war. The one important thing I’d say is: whatever is done, PASS A LAW. Executive orders are very close to tyranny, and will cause a lot more discontent.

  • Manny

    Can executive orders be abused? What’s the rule on it? If anything goes with executive orders, then isn’t a president (any president) a dictator?

    If you want to read why Republicans have really grown to hate Obama, in a way they didn’t for Clinton, read Peggy Noonan’s latest.

    The man is a liar, a bully, and completely lacks humility. Until about a year ago, especially after that really low blow ad against Romney claiming Romney killed a woman, I did not dislike him. There is a visciousness in this man that belies his public image.

    • Ted Seeber

      I actually think the Republicans LIKE Obama. He’s expanding executive privilege in a way that Reagan failed to, that even Bush II failed to. If you think this power of executive rule by fiat will not be abused by a Democrat, just wait until a Republican gets a hold of it.

      Tyranny is the correct word. Dictatorship would be better.

    • Gigalith

      Executive orders, are, allegedly, the power of the executive branch to enforce the laws, based on the power of Congressional approval or the Constitution. In reality, executive orders do practically anything unless the Supreme Court complains. Parts of the New Deal were executive orders. Japanese internment in WW2 was based on executive orders. Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell was an executive order. What separates presidents from dictators is mostly that the Supreme Court HAS complained sometimes, and the president has not tried to overrule them.

      • Rebecca Hamilton

        So far as I know, no one has challenged executive orders in the courts. The mis-use of them has grown with each president.

        • Gigalith

          The Supreme Court ruled against President Truman when he tried to end strikes by seizing steel mills. I don’t know if there are other instances.

  • http://www, Jennifer

    I hate the idea of gun control -mainly because it’s guns today and _______ tomorrow. Before anyone gets upset with me I definitely recognize the fact that things need to change. There’s any number of things they can do that have already been discussed at length. However, the use of Executive Orders from a President that can’t be trusted doesn’t sit well with me. He’s a liar plain and simple.

  • sethw2

    What the heck is “high capacity ammunition”? Good job WashPO…

  • Sus

    Rebecca’s post on Forgiveness and murder has a link to a long story about a guy who used his father’s shotgun to kill his girlfriend. If the gun in this case was locked in a gun safe, there probably wouldn’t be a dead girl and two families torn up.

    Yes he could have stabbed, beat to death, used a bow and arrow and so on. However, all those methods are much harder to do than pulling a trigger. You have to actually touch the person. That isn’t easy for most people.

  • FW Ken

    I’m all for more gun control laws. I’ll be really impressed if they actually work.

  • brian

    this topic is foolish and dangerous. If you want gun control live somewhere else. I mean it. Why change America into a European county. We are who we are. AND WE ARE THE BEST PLACE TO LIVE BECAUSE OF WHO WE ARE. A few nut bars go crazy and now i cant own my guns….you wont take them from me or millions others like me. i have commited no crime and millions of other gun owners havent either
    You ban guns, it solves nothing. Mexico will then make billions pumping guns into this country like they do with drugs.
    this argument is hillarious. Obama wnts our guns…thats all. bottomline. If he cared about innocent children getting killed he would ban abortion!!Oh but thats right, thats freedom of choice right…
    Guns save more innocent lives than they destroy
    Chicago has tough gun laws…look at their crime. up up and away!!
    Autrailia banned guns. home invasion, rape, assualt is way up.
    same in England. Police now wear body armor. they didnt start until after the ban.

    • Sus

      Have all the guns you want. Install a cannon in your garage for all I care. Just make sure that your guns are secured and that no one has access to them that would do something illegal with them. If someone does get a hold your guns and does something illegal, then you are also responsible and should go to prison.