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Obama’s Actions on Guns Laid Out, While Extremist Republicans Talk Impeachment

President Barack Obama signs letters written by Hinna Zeejah, Grant Fritz, Julia Stokes, and Teja Goode backstage in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building’s South Court Auditorium after unveiling new gun control proposals as part of the Administration’s response to the Newtown, Conn., shootings, and other tragedies, Jan. 16, 2013. The children wrote to President Obama in the wake of the Newtown tragedy expressing their concerns about gun violence and school safety. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

As President, I’m committed to doing my part. That’s why I signed 23 executive actions giving law enforcement, schools, mental health professionals, and the public health community the tools they need to help reduce gun violence. These actions ranged from strengthening our background check system, to helping schools hire more resource officers and counselors if they want them, to directing the Centers for Disease Control to study the best ways to reduce gun violence. – President Barack Obama [op-ed on]

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PRIORITIES OF political parties and their politicians couldn’t have been clearer after President Obama unveiled his gun safety measures to the public on Wednesday. It’s not to early to begin another election cycle, so we just might be witnessing the kick off to 2014.

Texas grows wackos on trees, with Rep. Stockman thinking he can actually impeach President Obama over his 23 executive actions meant to begin to curb gun violence in this country. But he’s hardly alone. Gov. Rick Perry jumped into the fight to prove my wacko theory about Texas.

Evidently Republicans don’t understand what high crimes and misdemeanors mean.

President Obama should be hailed for showing the courage required. But like he said on Wednesday, none of this will happen if the American people don’t call their senators and congresspeople to demand action. Obama’s teed it up, but the rest is up to you.

I linked to the proposals from President Obama yesterday. Think Progress has a done a tidy list:

1. Making background checks universal. Obama wants every single gun owner to go through a proper background check, so it can be determined whether they have a criminal history or diagnosed mental illness. He wants Congress to close the gun show loophole that allows people at gun shows, and private buyers of used weapons, to avoid getting checked. He will also, through executive action, urge private sellers to conduct background checks, even if they aren’t mandatory.
2. Improving state reporting of criminals and the mentally ill. While all states are required to report to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) people who should not have access to guns, some states are sluggish about putting the data into the system. Obama will put more money into the hands of the states so that they can improve their reporting systems, and issue stronger guidelines to let states know when they should report people. Obama will also, through Presidential Memorandum, work to make sure agencies are regularly entering data into NICS.
3. Banning assault weapons. This is likely the most difficult battle Obama will undertake. He wants to reinstate the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, which outlaws military-grade weapons, like the AR-15 used by Newtown gunman Adam Lanza and by Aurora Theater gunman James Holmes. Obama wants Congress to pass the ban, and close some of the loopholes identified in its 1994 iteration.
4. Capping magazine clip capacity at 10 bullets. A military-grade weapon is dangerous, but so are its accessories: Obama proposes banning all extended magazine clips that hold over 10 bullets. Huge magazine clips allow a gunman to fire off hundreds of rounds without having to stop, even once, to reload. The high-capacity magazine ban was also part of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban.
5. Purging armor-piercing bullets. The sale of armor piercing ammunition has been banned for quite some time, but is still legal to posess such bullets. Obama is calling on Congress to outlaw ownership and transfer of these bullets, instead of just the sale. Those who oppose any gun laws try to spin a ban on armor piercing bullets as a ban on deer hunting ammunition, but such ammo has the ability to penetrate bullet-proof vests, and is more colloquially known as “cop killer bullets.”
6. Funding police officers. Obama wants Congress to reverse its course of austerity for public employees by approving $4 billion to fund police enforcement around the country.

7. Strengthening gun tracking. In order to track weapons that are used for crimes, Obama will issue a memorandum mandating that all agencies trace back firearms. This means that any agency in the country must trace guns used in crimes back to their original owners, as a way to help collect data on where criminal weapons are coming from. Obama will also ask Congress to allow law enforcement to do background checks on guns seized during investigations.
8. Supporting research on gun violence. Obama hopes to be able to gather more information on gun violence and misuse of firearms, and use that data to inform the work of law enforcement. He also wants to restart research, which has been long blocked by the National Rifle Association, on how video games, the media, and violence affect violent gun crimes. The Centers for Disease Control will immediately begin these efforts, but Obama also is calling on Congress to add $10 million to the pot of funding for such research.
9. Encouraging mental health providers to get involved. In order to make sure that those with homicidal thoughts are unable to access the weapons with which to kill, Obama seeks to encourage mental health professionals to alert authorities to such people. He will clarify that doing so is not in violation of patient privacy laws. He also wants to dispel the idea that Obamacare prevents doctors from talking to patients about guns.
10. Promoting safe gun ownership. The administration will start a “responsible gun ownership” campaign to encourage gun owners to lock up their firearms. He will also work with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to make sure safes and gun locks on the market are effective. He’s also calling on the justice department to help him come up with new gun safety technology.
11. Funding school counseling. Obama is calling on Congress to fund the positions of 1,000 news school counselors. The funding will come both through the already-existent COPS Hiring Grant, and through a new Comprehensive School Safety program that Congress will need to sign off on. The latter would put #150 million into funding for new counselors and social workers in schools.
12. Encouraging safe, anti-bullying school environments. Over 8,000 schools could receive new funding – $50 million – under Obama’s plan to encourage safer school environments. Obama wants to help at-risk students by creating a “school climate survey” that will collect data on what services students need, and to remedy any problems by putting professionals into schools. The administration will also issue guidelines on school discipline policies.
13. Recognizing the mental health needs of low-income Americans. Medicaid recipients already qualify for some mental health services, but Obama would like to expand that service so that low-income Americans have the same access to professional help as those who have money to pay for it on their own. Obama will issue a directive to heads of state health programs, enforcing “mental health parity” – the idea that mental health should be treated as a priority as important as physical health.

Senator Rand Paul is also ready to fight these recommendations all the way.  From an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network earlier this week:

“I’m against having a king,” Paul said. “I think having a monarch is what we fought the American Revolution over and someone who wants to bypass the Constitution, bypass Congress — that’s someone who wants to act like a king or a monarch.”

“I’ve been opposed to executive orders, even with Republican presidents. But one that wants to infringe on the Second Amendment, we will fight tooth and nail,” he continued.

“And I promise you, there’ll be no rock left unturned as far as trying to stop him from usurping the Constitution, running roughshod over Congress,” he vowed. “And you will see one heck of a debate if he decides to try to do this.”

The battle lines are drawn. The rest is up to you.

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9 Responses to Obama’s Actions on Guns Laid Out, While Extremist Republicans Talk Impeachment

  1. Solo January 17, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    If the GOP follows through with their impeachment threat come January 2015 Nancy Pelosi will once again be the speaker of the House of representatives! Imagine a group of representatives in the house with approval ratings in the teens initiating impeachment proceedings against a president with approval ratings that are near 60%! Gotta love those optics!

    • spincitysd January 17, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

      And pray tell how is that a good result? Pelosi did not exactly set the House on fire the last time she ran the joint.

      Plus I would rather not have Impeachment degraded any further. The Clinton farce caused enough damage to this critical Congressional check. It allowed Nancy the Ninny to take Impeachment off the table when she was actually obligated to pursue that Constitutional check on George W. Bush.

      Having Impeachment turn into partisan political theater is the worst possible result for the continued institutional health of the Republic.

      • Cujo359 January 18, 2013 at 12:36 am #

        Dude, you clearly didn’t get the memo. Democrat == good, The Other Guys == Bad. That law was part of classical physics, for crying out loud.

        • Solo January 18, 2013 at 4:04 am #

          Yes! Yes! There all the same!

      • Solo January 18, 2013 at 4:04 am #

        “Having Impeachment turn into partisan political theater is the worst possible result for the continued institutional health of the Republic.” Maybe you should make that point to those GOP cranks in Congress!

  2. LiberalJoe January 17, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    we should understand at least two things about the long term view/goals of the Republican Party (there are more but I’m talking just two)

    1. They and Neocons everywhere regardless of Party have had a jones they can’t cure when it comes to bombing Iran. Ever since the Iranian Crisis in 1979 when Pres Carter refused to bomb Iran for taking the hostages, they have been trying to get every President since then to bomb or attack Iran. It borders on pathological.

    In my opinion Pres Carter was right not to bomb Iran because if we had we would have been at war in the mideast from that moment until now. The Repubs had to wait for Gulf War I then Iraq (and the long war in Afghanistan – not the 911 response) to get their blood letting out. They are still trying to bomb Iran and they don’t care who does it.

    2. Ever since Pres Nixon was impeached they keep waiting and trying to impeach a Dem President. They tried with Pres Clinton and they sure as hell are looking to do so with Pres Obama. This is part revenge and part belief that they feel no Democrat should ever hold the Presidency and will do everything to destroy that Presidency, the country be damned.

    What is so infuriating about both but let’s focus on impeachment and the destructive pardon of Nixon subsequent to that impeachment, and the election of Pres Reagan. Since that time the national Dems have been neutered-they are afraid to act boldly and strongly in all area’s of governance especially when it concerns unconstitutional, criminal and unethical behavior, anywhere. It is that fear that led Speaker Pelosi to not pursue impeachment or investigate the criminality of the the Bush II Presidency and probably contributed to Pres Obama and Eric Holder from doing the same.

    What the Dems don’t seem to understand that if they continue to do nothing the Repubs will become even more embolden to push the envelope in bullying the country, the Dem Party and pushing the envelope of unconstitutional and criminal behavior when they have power.

    What we have witnessed over the last 4 years is just the latest pushing of that envelope. Unless the Dems start fighting back and acting like they are in a fight and not a debate class, it will only get worse.

    Gun Control is the latest excuse. But look around and observe how they are trying to rig future presidential elections by changing several states electoral college allocation, and Senator Reid blinking on filibuster reform, and others.

    The founding fathers must be turning over in there graves.

  3. TPAZ January 17, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

    LiberalJoe, the problems of the Democratic Party is even worse than you outline, historically. Let’s review:

    2008 Barack Obama – two terms -
    1992 Bill Clinton-two terms-impeached
    1976 Jimmy Carter – one term – lost reelection bid.
    1964 Lyndon Johnson – one term – did not run for reelection
    1960 John Kennedy – one term – assassinated
    1948 Harry Truman-one term – did not run for office in 1952
    1932 Franklin Roosevelt – four terms – 22nd amendment to the Constitution enacted.

    Barack Obama won reelection therefore it is almost a certainty that Republicans will attempt to impeach him. Since FDR, every Democratic president either lost a reelection, did not seek reelection, or faced impeachment in his second term. This is fact. I don’t see anything changing in the near future for Democratic presidents.

    • jjamele January 17, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

      1. Harry Truman served almost two full terms, was 68 in 1952, and his popularity was in the gutter in his final year- Estes Kefauver actually won the New Hampshire primary when Truman was still expected to run.

      2. Republican Presidents have not had stellar times since FDR either-

      –Dwight Eisenhower; two terms, Democrats win 2-1 margins in House and Senate in 1958, cementing their control of the Senate (which had wobbled between the parties since 1946) until 1980 and the House (which had also flipped back and forth in 1946, 1948, 1952 and 1954) until 1994.

      –Richard Nixon- forced to resign.

      –Ronald Reagan- Iran-Contra hearings, hands power to a successor of his own party only after dirtiest campaign in modern history and weakest campaign run by a Democrat since McGovern in ’72.

      –George Bush- defeated after one term

      –George W Bush- elected by SC in 2000, elected under suspicious circumstances in 2004, never with more than 286 electoral college votes.

      Seems that neither party has a great track record since WWII.

  4. secularhumanizinevoluter January 18, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    Ahhhhh, the faint but bitter disharmony of that old tune “they’re both the same” floating on the wind………

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong