Two gun control executive orders were signed on August 29, 2013, by President Obama. The first eliminates the sale to individuals of re imported American military surplus weapons, restricting such sales to museums and the like. The second eliminates a dodge that is popular among persons who cannot pass a background check. At present, felons, domestic abusers, and others prohibited from having guns can easily evade the required background check and gain access even to machine guns or other particularly dangerous weapons by registering the weapon to a trust or corporation. It will no longer be legal to sell guns to corporations or trusts whose officers and members are hidden. All persons associated with a trust or corporation requesting a waiver to purchase a weapon must now be identified and undergo a background check before the corporation or trust is permitted to purchase a firearm.
Following the spectacular flameout in the Senate of more comprehensive gun control legislation, the administration decided to build on the 23 firearms-related Executive Orders the President had signed in January. Once the Senate had approved a new Director of the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), which only happened because Senator Harry Reid threatened, and meant, to reduce the filibuster cloture vote to a simple majority vote of those present, a move too long delayed. Having a permanent Director, the ATF was far better situated to enforce laws, regulations and Executive Orders. It was within this new paradigm that the president decided that too many machine guns, short barreled shotguns and other combat weapons, however old they might be, were falling into the hands of persons who were unable to pass background checks. So the president promulgated these executive orders, which are intended to address those methods of skirting the law.
It's high time, however minimal the impact of either or both of these EOs may be. The cumulative effect of these EOs and appropriate legislation (should Congress ever stop playing politics with American lives as the table stakes) will be to reduce gun ownership among criminals, or to get them punished if they break or skirt the law and obtain guns.
The NRA, always on the side of "more guns available to anyone who wants them is the answer to too many guns in the wrong hands," issued the following statement:
"The Obama administration has once again completely missed the mark when it comes to stopping violent crime. Requiring background checks for corporations and trusts does not keep firearms out of the hands of criminals. 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."
There is, of course, no evidence that "this administration" (or any other local, state or federal administration or department) is not serious about prosecuting violent criminals, whether they "misuse guns" or not. When criminals dodge, sidestep or simply violate laws, about gun ownership or anything else, the law needs to be changed to close whatever loophole they may be using, and they need to be prosecuted. The idea that the fact that criminals will violate gun laws means there shouldn't be any gun laws is absurd on its face. Criminals break all sorts of laws. With luck, they get arrested, punished and released. By the NRA's logic, America should have no laws at all.
Congressional leaders, most notably Republican/Conservative/TEA Party leaders, have had nothing to say about these new executive orders so far. Gallup published a summary of polls on the subjects of gun ownership and buying controls on August 30. Generally speaking, a majority of Americans want Congress to "do something." They want gun ownership denied to persons who pose a risk with a gun... felons, domestic abusers and persons with mental disabilities for a start. The idea that the second amendment precludes regulation of gun ownership in any fashion is patently absurd. If that were the case, any person could own, without restriction, a fully automatic weapon in America... and that is not, in fact, possible. If one restriction is possible, others are. It's time this self-absorbed, Obama-hating bunch of "conservatives" now in Congress, both houses, start to listen to the constituency it has not represented at all for the past six years, and take back up the gun control legislation it rejected in April.
The answer to too many guns is not, more guns. In the meantime, President Obama promises more gun control executive orders.