In anticipation that the right-wing nuts are not going to read the details of Obama’s 23 Planned Executive Actions On Guns, let me be the first to tell you: Guns are not being taken away. Our president did not make any new laws. And, yes, you’re still allowed to horde semi-automatic weapons to compensate for your need of Viagra.
Right now they are too up in arms over the fact that children were standing behind the president, even though kids have real concerns about gun violence.
Quite frankly, these executive orders (much like New York’s new gun control law) have no teeth. They do not create concrete solutions to deal with the real problem of guns (and the problem really are GUNS). However, there may be a couple of items that could help with research and combating the NRA PR machine. For example, this:
[16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.]
These two items could give a lot of information regarding how many guns are out there – especially illegal ones. It could also give real numbers as to how guns are used during the course of domestic violence – before they are fired. Then the question is what to do with that information in order to reduce the amount of guns that are out there? Perhaps if the details are shocking enough, it could garner public support for serious regulation. Of course, I expect there will be plenty of emergency legislation pushed through in Republican led states that will prohibit these two items.
And then there’s this:
[14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.]
The fact is, the CDC is already allowed to do this. Kinda. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, the CDC researched guns and gun violence and kept finding out that…surprise!…guns are dangerous and gun violence was a public health phenomenon. In fact, they suggested stricter gun control as a possible remedy. Great idea, right? Well, in 1996 Congress acted quickly in light of this new information and…wait for it…. promptly defunded the CDC’s gun research (do I need to tell you and which organization’s insistence? No? Okay, I’ll move on.). Eventually, the money for research was reinstated. Kinda. Gun related research funding is declining more and more each year. Not to mention that whatever is in the budget is being diverted to research on traumatic brain injuries (I’m not sure if it’s ones caused by war or football. I’m going to go with football because that’s important.). This, of course, means there aren’t a lot of researchers in the field, limiting the amount of data collected.
It should also be noted that this executive order does not override the current law which specifically states:
“None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”
Well that’s convenient.
In the end, these executive orders may open the door to getting public officials more involved in gathering much-needed information that has been, up until now, buried underneath the NRA’s demented PR machine and the fear of its paranoid and delusional supporters. All that does, however, is give us the data to show what we already know: Guns, and the resulting violence, are a public health crisis and we need to do everything in our power to eliminate the danger.
Too bad information isn’t enough to stop the nearly 9,000 gun deaths that will occur this year.