The King Continues his Reign and Speaks Again

It’s nice when you’re the King, because the King can do as he pleases.

Ignoring Congress’s decline to pass “common sense” gun legislation in 2013, the Obama administration will take action where Congress left off.

The FACT SHEET released by the White House today indicates that the latest executive actions will “help strengthen the federal background check system and keep guns out of the wrong hands.”  The title of the FACT SHEET is more telling – it refers to keeping guns out of “potentially dangerous hands”.

According to the White House, the first action provides that the Department of Justice will propose a regulation clarifying who can and cannot possess a firearm for reasons related to mental health.  This regulation will state that persons prohibited from possessing a firearm are those individuals who have been committed to a mental health institution, whether inpatient or outpatient.

The second action allows the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to propose a regulation addressing the current barriers which the DHHS deems are preventing individual states from submitting private health care information to the federal background check system.    This new regulation would allow the release of information that would ordinarily be protected by the federal HIPPA law because the people being reported have “potentially dangerous hands”.

We have not yet been provided with the complete language of the proposed regulations, so it is not certain how expansive the information to be provided under the new rule will be.   However, we know that some doctors already ask patients whether or not they own firearms.  Providing gun ownership information or an opinion of the person’s potential dangerousness based on gun ownership to a background check system would not only violate a person’s privacy, but their right to due process.  Currently, (and absent another reason that places such a person on the prohibited person’s list for possession of a firearm), the mentally ill must have been adjudicated a mental defective or have been committed to a mental institution after the opportunity to present their case in court before their right to keep and bare arms is removed from them.

The FACT SHEET ends with a plea to Congress to also act and implement “common-sense gun safety legislation”, indicating that the President and Vice President are doing all they can, but legislation is also needed.

The problem is, of course, that no so-called “common-sense” gun control legislation has ever reduced crime or mass shootings.   In fact, the opposite has been proven true:   those jurisdictions with the strictest gun control laws also have the highest murder rates.  These executive actions are merely a continued onslaught on our Second Amendment.