Friday, August 30, 2013

Obama's Trivial Focus on Gun Control (Updated 8/30/2013)

Obama has decided to bypass Congress and impose his own gun control. Although his actions will have a significant impact on firearm collectors, it will have no impact on crime. The Associated Press reports:
One new policy will end a government practice that lets military weapons, sold or donated by the U.S. to allies, be reimported into the U.S. by private entities, where some may end up on the streets. The White House said the U.S. has approved 250,000 of those guns to be reimported since 2005; under the new policy, only museums and a few other entities like the government will be eligible to reimport military-grade firearms. 
To understand what is going on here, you have to have some background. Back during and after the Korean War, the U.S. donated to South Korea hundreds of thousands of M1 Garands and M1 Carbines (and some M1911 Colt pistols)--the same type of weapons that were brought home (i.e., to their personal home) by thousands of troops at the end of WWII. These weapons are now long obsolete--in fact, they are considered antique firearms that can be transferred with a limited collectors license--and no longer need by South Korea. South Korea planned on selling or sending these rifles back to the United States, where they are in high demand by collectors of WWII weapons and memorabilia.  In fact, the United States Government even has a program--the Civilian Marksmanship Program--whose sole purpose is to inspect and sell old military rifles such as the M1 Garands and M1 Carbines to the public. However, since Obama doesn't like South Koreans all that much, and particularly dislikes "fat old white men" that collect WWII arms, but wants to show how important he is to his worshippers, he put the kibosh on the whole sale. Since M1 Garands are big, heavy, semi-automatic rifles with an 8-round magazine, there is not a lot of demand for them by gang-bangers. So, the impact on gun crime by this executive order is zero.
The Obama administration is also proposing a federal rule to stop those who would be ineligible to pass a background check from skirting the law by registering a gun to a corporation or trust. The new rule would require people associated with those entities, like beneficiaries and trustees, to undergo the same type of fingerprint-based background checks as individuals if they want to register guns.
Again, this is an issue that only impacts a small number of collectors--in this case, collectors of fully automatic weapons, silencers, etc., strictly controlled by the National Firearms Act. The use of trusts had two advantages for collectors. First, it simplified estate planning for NFA items because they would be passed to a trust or corporation, which, of course, would not die. Second, for some reason, such entities (probably because this was intended to benefit security companies) didn't have to get approval of a local law enforcement official to approve the transfer. So, in reality, all this does is require the entity to now get approval of a local law enforcement official. Since properly licensed NFA weapons are never used in crimes (except for an errant police officer here and there), this will again have zero impact on gun crime.

More on this story at the Weekly Standard.

In short, all this shows is how mean-spirited Obama can be.

Updated (Aug. 30, 2013): Some more analysis from The Truth About Guns on the impact on NFA trusts.

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