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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Backdoor Restrictions on Firearms? (Updated)

No surprise that Obama is supporting increased gun control--liberalism is the fear that somewhere, someone is doing something not regulated by the government. However, it is notable that there indications that Obama will try to do something by extra-legal executive fiat rather than through Congress. The Washington Examiner notes:
The Obama administration has a variety of executive options at its disposal that don't require congressional approval. The president could beef up background checks, require more extensive records of gun sales or limit military-style weapons, administration officials said. Obama has appointed Vice President Biden to spearhead proposals from his Cabinet for how to prevent similar massacres in the future. The president said he would outline his agenda in "coming weeks."
And Real Clear Politics cites this:
JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CURRENT TV HOST: After Gabby Giffords was shot in 2011, the Department of Justice actually came up with a list of steps -- this was reported in the New York Times this weekend -- a list of steps that the administration could take to improve the system of background checks. Like pooling information from other agencies to help identify people who are not mentally competent. I, as a former person in the executive branch, used to love stuff that I could without having to go to the state legislature. The president, presumably, has an opportunity here to pick up those regulatory measures. Do you think not?
ROBERT REICH, FORMER SECRETARY OF LABOR: Yes, some can be done by executive order. And he will, I think, try to do that. If it's an executive order, by definition, Congress can't stop him. There may be efforts to say that he has exceeded his authority under executive order. I think the big factor here, though, for the President, the White House, for Democrats, is that the election is over. And I don't want to appear too cynical about this, Jennifer, but one reason why the president may not have taken up what the Department of Justice had tentatively come up with, before the election, was the fear that there would be a backlash.
How convenient for Obama that the Newtown shooting reduced or eliminated any possible backlash.

Which reminds me. The early reports indicated that there was a second person arrested by police. (See here for a more complete list of reports). Whatever happened with him? Released? Questioned? Still in custody?

Update: (Dec. 20, 2012) Reuters reports Eric Holder as stating that the Administration is considering "executive action" as to gun control.

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