Even with Eric Holder out of the picture, the Department of Justice has gun owners in its sights.
The Department of Justice has announced plans to flex its rule-making muscle to introduce more than a dozen gun control regulations between now and the close of the Obama administration.
No. 1 on the list of proposed regulations will be an effort that purports to prevent the mentally ill and those convicted of domestic violence from purchasing firearms, according to The Hill. Also included will be gun storage requirements and restrictions on high powered handguns.
But gun rights advocates claim many of the proposals will infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.
“It’s clear President Obama is beginning his final assault on our Second Amendment rights by forcing his anti-gun agenda on honest law-abiding citizens through executive force,” Luke O’Dell, vice president of political affairs at the National Association for Gun Rights, said in a statement, according to The Hill.
When Congress failed to muster the votes to pass more stringent gun control legislation following the tragic Newtown, Conn., Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012, President Obama issued 23 executive actions.
“If America worked harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be fewer atrocities like the one that occurred in Newtown,” Obama said at the time.
“We can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible, law-breaking few from inflicting harm on a massive scale.”
Fair enough, but all too often gun control legislation concentrates on the firearm and not the criminal, making criminals out of the law-abiding.
And when it does target the prospective gun purchaser, it’s often overly broad. The Hill reported:
The Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is looking to revive a rule proposed way back in 1998 that would block domestic abusers from owning guns.
As proposed, the regulation makes it illegal for some who has been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense to own a gun.
The ATF plans to finalize the rule by November, according to the Unified Agenda.
But gun rights advocates are concerned the Obama administration will use this rule to unfairly target certain gun owners.
Overly broad? At least one group thinks so.
“That could be a person who spanked his kid, or yelled at his wife, or slapped her husband,” Michael Hammond, legislative counsel for the Gun Owners of America said.
Also being targeted are the mentally ill. But the problem is in the definition.
“The Obama administration is trying very hard to disqualify people from owning a gun on the basis that they are seeing a psychologist,” Hammond argued.
Gun rights groups, including the National Rifle Association, propose restricting gun ownership by possible problem individuals on a case-by-case basis.
“A person who experienced a temporary reaction to a traumatic event or who has trouble handling household finances may well be treated the same as a violent psychopath,” the NRA wrote.
“Not only is this unjust and stigmatizing, it creates disincentives for those who need mental health treatment to seek it, increasing whatever risks are associated with untreated mental illness,” it added.
But it’s the other proposed rules — especially those focusing on the weapon rather than the gun owner — that raise the loudest alarms.
“The Obama administration hates the Second Amendment, and it’s clear that every place where it can push, it will,” said Hammond. “This is an indication of an anti-gun administration trying to annoy us in any way it can.”
Still another problem is the manner in which the Obama administration is going after gun control legislation — by bypassing Congress with the federal bureaucracy, defined last year by Lawrence J. Fedewa in The Washington Times as “the fourth branch of government.”
The rules, drafted by the various federal agencies, have the full force of any bill passed by Congress and signed into law by the president, and made a part of the Code of Federal Regulations, currently comprising more than 20,000 pages.
One person said it best on social media:
@thehill Enough with the regulations! Enforce the laws already on the books and put away the #badguys. #LawAndOrder
— Jeff Keck (@JeffreyKeck) May 31, 2015
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