Wiping away tears at his press conference, President Obama today announced new ovearching gun regulations designed to “stop gun violence.” In an extensive plan designed to curb future mass shootings, the President called for a number of reforms to existing gun laws that would, in no way, stop any of the mass shootings he mentioned in his emotional plea.
Obama laid out executive action he is taking to require more gun sellers to get licenses and more gun buyers to undergo background checks.
Under the changes, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) will issue guidelines intended to narrow exceptions to a system that requires sellers to check with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine whether buyers have criminal records, are charged with crimes or have mental health conditions that would bar them from owning a gun.
Any changes to gun rules in America are fraught with political risk. The U.S. Constitution’s 2nd Amendment gives Americans the right to have arms, a right that is fiercely defended.
As a testament to how effective such laws would be on gun manufacturers and gun sales, stock prices for the nation’s pre-eminent gun companies jumped on the news. Smith and Wesson was up 10% and Ruger a solid 6%. Lawsuits are forthcoming, so lawyers are plenty excited.
I’ll leave an in-depth discussion of Obama’s proposal to more qualified experts (I’ve never purchased or owned a weapon, though I’ve shot a couple of beer cans off fences in my life). I will say, though, that Obama’s strategy on these regulations is remarkably familiar, in probably – to him, at least – an unpleasant way. His response to gun violence is the same as his response to terrorism, to environmental concerns, to immigration, to largely anything placed on his desk: the Underpants Gnomes response. In each case, Obama has come out with a lofty plan that has little to do with his stated goal, but lines up nicely with a hashtag. The plan ultimately meanders, failing in court, failing in legislatures, often failing to court public opinion, and then the Obama Administration ultimately declares that they’ve done the best they can.
So, in essense, his plan is:
Thankfully for Obama, I suppose, few of his supporters demand details in Step 2, otherwise, he would be forced to admit that there is no connection between the laws he proposes and the results he’s looking for.