Obama Issues 23 Executive Orders on Gun Safety

            Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, in which 26 people were murdered, President Obama said, "We can't tolerate this anymore."  The massacre of 20 children started a real conversation on gun regulation.  For the first time in my memory, politicians and pundits were both discussing the need for gun regulation.  Speaking at a vigil for the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting, Obama said, "These tragedies must end, and to end them, we must change.”  As most Americans, the President was visibly disturbed by the Sandy Hook tragedy.  During his speech, he brought up the topic of gun regulation and said, "In the coming weeks, I'll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens, from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators in an effort to prevent more tragedies like this.”  Today, Obama signed 23 executive orders aimed at reducing gun violence in America. 

            I have not yet been able to find the complete listing on any governmental website, stunningly, not even on the Whitehouse’s own site.  I will update this article to include a link to the complete listing when I am able to find it on a federal website.  Considering the amount of gun violence in this country, a few of the orders are quite strong and long overdue.  While others are important, their immediate impact is less clear, such as nominating a Director to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF). 

            I find a few of the orders worthy of more attention.  Of the 23 orders, I think the one that has the potential to be the most important is the Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.  In 1996, the Republican controlled Congress removed 2.6 million dollars that had been allocated to the CDC’s budget for the purpose of studying gun violence.  That same year, legislation was passed that exclusively prohibited the CDC from spending money on any research that would “advocate or promote gun control”.  As a result of this legislation, the CDC has not conducted any research into gun violence.  That 17 year ban has just ended.  The CDC will now be free to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.  I can hear the anti-science heads of right wingers across the nation exploding at the thought of science being applied to the problem of American gun violence.

            Obama’s actions today ensure that the gun safety conversation will continue.  He called on Congress to pass legislation to ban assault weapons, limit the size of magazines and require a background check for the sale of any gun.  Most of the proposals seem like common sense solutions and not the acts of a power hungry tyrant as they are portrayed by the gun lobby and their toadies in office.  Indeed, one Missouri State Representative (I’m not naming him because he’s an idiot) introduced legislation that he said would block the effects of any executive order from interfering with the gun rights of Missouri residents.  Seriously, how do some of these people win elections?      

            I am very pleased with the executive orders issued by Obama today.  Gun regulation is necessary.  The gun lobby is very powerful.  It is very likely that they have the money to buy all the politicians that they will need to prevent any meaningful legislation from being passed.  I am glad that Obama acted today.  Passing real gun regulation will be very difficult in the current political environment.  I am hopeful that today was only the first step in what will be a long process.




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I watched the press conference

LaEscapee's picture

and although I was a bit distracted at the time I think many of these things are necessary.

Now the battle begins I guess. Thanks for putting this out there Sartoris, I am sure I may not agree with all steps taken but at least now we talk about sensible solutions.

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it's definitely the beginning and NOT the end

sartoris's picture

I read the orders and some are really not worthy of being announced at a press conference.  I think that I have been a very tough critic of the President when I thought he was making mistakes.  I think that he deserves credit for his actions today.  However, today cannot be the end of this issue.

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Well, I'm glad I'm not the only one who couldn't find all of ...

Ohio Barbarian's picture

those executive orders. Thanks for looking; I feel better :)

I don't trust Obama any further than I can throw the White House, but there may be some hope of real progress on this particular issue. Obama's a true believer of capitalism, and in particular seems to be a creature of the investor class on Wall Street. 

But he's still a politician who owes nothing to the gun lobby. He can tweak their nose, look good to part of the Democratic base, and still not do anything to really offend the real powers behind the throne. So can a lot of Democratic congresscritters. This is a safe issue for most of them. 

The Republican side of the equation is more complicated, but maybe there are enough of them who will take this opportunity to look mavericky that some real good might be accomplished. I think a limit on magazine size is about the best we can hope for. I don't know if it will be ten rounds or fifteen, but I do think a limit may well pass. 

After all, who needs more then 10 or 15 rounds of ammuniton in a magazine to hunt or for self-defense? No one, that's who. 


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looked again today and still nothing

sartoris's picture

I'm still looking.  I want to find them on a federal site.  When I find them I'll post a link.  Gun regulation was never something that I studied very much.  I'm not a ban them all or a 'pry it from my cold dead fingers' person.  I certainly don't have the answers on this issue.  However, I think that no one could argue that what America is doing now is working.

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I don't think there is a silver bullet for this problem. Sorry,

Ohio Barbarian's picture

just couldn't resist that pun. Seriously, I don't think there is any perfect solution. Repealing or suspending the Second Amendment and imposing a total prohibition of guns would be less successful than Probibition was in eliminating alcohol consumption. Allowing everyone to carry around weapons designed for the military is just insane. Hell, even the military doesn't allow its members to carry weapons all of the time, and most of the time only when they might need them. 

I don't think anyone has all of the answers. There are things that can be done than might save some lives, but even they won't work all of the time. What does work in some schools is very heavy-handed. For example, my stepson goes to a high school in an inner ring suburb of Cleveland. They had problems with kids bringing weapons to the school many years ago. Their solution?

Card readers. Metal detectors. Armed police officers in the school. It works. What happened at Columbine, Chardon or Newbury can't happen there. And it's still a good school as far as education goes. 

I'm not saying that solution should be imposed everywhere or in every school, but people sticking their heads in the sand and telling themselves "it can't happen here because this is a nice neighborhood full of the right type of people" just about guarantees that it WILL happen there. 

I think banning huge magazines is a good idea. At least then, the shooter will have to reload. I think an assault weapons ban is also a good idea; but I don't think it can pass this Congress. 





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