Following through on a promise he’d made Tuesday to a gathering of mayors, President Barack Obama signed two gun control executive orders on Thursday to add to the 23 he’d signed in January.
The president and Attorney General Eric Holder met with the mayors of 18 cities earlier this week to discuss means of combatting gun violence — especially among youth. At the meeting, he “vowed to continue doing everything in his power to combat gun violence through executive action and to press Congress to pass common-sense reforms like expanding the background check system and cracking down on gun trafficking,” the White House said in a statement.
The two executive orders would:
First, provide that “individuals associated with trusts or corporations that acquire [specialized weapons such as machine guns] to undergo background checks, just as these individuals would if the weapons were registered to them individually,” and,
Second, introduce “a new policy of denying requests to bring military-grade firearms back into the United States to private entities, with only a few exceptions such as for museums.”
The first executive order is moronic; the second, a travesty. And neither will have any effect whatsoever on gun violence in the United States.
“The Obama administration has once again completely missed the mark when it comes to stopping violent crime,” the National Rifle Association said in a statement, according to Fox News.
“Requiring background checks for corporations and trusts does not keep firearms out of the hands of criminals,” the NRA said. “Prohibiting the re-importation of firearms into the U.S. that were manufactured 50 or more years ago does not keep firearms out of the hands of criminals. This administration should get serious about prosecuting violent criminals who misuse guns and stop focusing its efforts on law-abiding gun owners.”
The last time I can recall submachine guns used in a crime was during the May, 1996 prolonged shootout following the robbery at the North Hollywood, Calif. branch of Bank of America. CNN confirmed my memory.
The fact is automatic weapons are just too difficult to come by. The weapon of choice for inner-city gangs isn’t a machine gun — it’s an easily concealed handgun. And they don’t acquire them through corporations and trusts — they buy them on the street, steal them or borrow them from friends or family members.
But while the first order will do nothing to curb violence, the second is more problematic. It restricts the re-importation of 60-year-old weapons such as military-surplus M-1 Garand rifles. While such weapons are useless because they are too big, heavy and clumsy in the hands of a criminal, they’re coveted by collectors.
“This is an outrage,” said Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Chairman Alan Gottlieb, according to the group’s website. “And the only people being hurt are law-abiding citizens. If there were any doubt about the level of anti-gun extremism in the Obama administration, this announcement just put those doubts to rest.”
In the meantime, Rome is burning.