THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 758, February 16, 2014
What we need are thinkers and heroes.
What we are stuck with is politicians.
Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
With another stroke of his executive pen, President Obama has again confirmed his anti-Second Amendment agenda. On August 29, 2013, the White House issued a press release declaring two executive actions going into effect. The first proposed change is to federal regulation to require background checks and law enforcement approval before firearms regulated under the National Firearms Act or "NFA" (things like machineguns, destructive devices, short barreled rifles/shotguns) can be transferred.
The second executive action makes it impossible for firearms collector's to bring home collectible firearms currently held oversees by our allies, typically as war surplus.
All presidents have tried to expand the definition of executive power, which one dictionary defines as "pertaining to or charged with the execution of laws and policies." An executive order is a rule issued by the president to an executive branch of the government. It has the force of law. Where congress fails to narrowly define the effect of a statute, Obama now stretches the meaning of language to create his own interpretation. Having lost the battle to enact new gun control laws -- a stunning defeat given the gift of bad news which he had received late last year -- Obama is now constantly seeking to satisfy his gun control acolytes and base. He uses executive orders to obstruct gun ownership whenever and wherever possible.
In another attempt to create gun control without authorization, Obama tossed out the two new executive orders redefining the law without specific input from congress. Granted, congress often writes laws and gives whoever occupies the White House extra leeway in handling the minutia of daily decisions. But Obama is redefining public policy at his whim and to your detriment.
Change to the Acquisition of NFA Firearms
The first of his latest orders changes how people and corporations create or obtain certain federally regulated firearms. Under Obama's new rules, an individual on behalf of a legal entity (like a corporation, partnership, or trust) would be subject to a background check in order to make or obtain an NFA firearm on behalf of that entity. In addition to this change, the manufacture or transfer would need the approval of the chief law enforcement officer (or someone similar), aka "CLEO."
Obama makes it sound like the prevention of danger itself. In his press release Obama sinisterly notes "ATF reports that last year alone, it received more than 39,000 requests for transfers of these restricted firearms to trusts or corporations." Let's add a little perspective to this:
There are over 80,000 publicly traded corporations in America and Lord knows how many private corporations. The 39,000 transfers are almost exclusively for the high security trades.
In the last reporting year America added about 4.5 million handguns to the public inventory, dwarfing the 39,000 exotic corporate transfers.
No report on the Bureau of Justice or ATF web sites note how many (if any) of these 39,000 firearms are ever used in crimes.
Neither site also brags about the fact that recently the ATF allowed 13,000 unregistered silencers to be imported.
Obama's angle is a common scare tactic: to make the public think that people prohibited from acquiring these firearms form fake corporations and trusts to obtain them. Yet his office and his agencies do not report this being a common problem (unlike the growing number of gangland homicides). It makes for dazzling headlines and a completely false sense of security -- from a non-problem. It's an answer to a problem that doesn't exist.
If the regulations proposed by Obama take effect its much more problematic than the fiction they're supposedly designed to protect. (The proposed regulations may be reviewed here).
Corporations will be forced to obtain CLEO permission before NFA firearms can be received, made, or transferred. Previously exempt from that requirement, corporations engaged in the business in making and/or dealing in these firearms could do so unencumbered by the political whims of local law enforcement. They were not required to obtain a CLEO signature before obtaining or making NFA firearms. Now, pending regulation will require the CLEO to sign the required documents before a corporation can obtain or make an NFA firearm. But the catch is... there is no requirement for the CLEO to actually sign these permission forms. A CLEO could hold up an NFA firearm transfer via bureaucracy, incompetence, or political whim. If a CLEO doesn't want to sign a form he or she isn't required to. This political whim, in the past, prevented a lot of law abiding U.S. citizens from obtaining NFA firearms. This resulted in Americans creating entities known as NFA trusts. Bottom line: CLEO's won't sign the forms period.
NFA trusts, like corporations, are currently able to acquire NFA firearms without the hassle of a CLEO signature (although state laws do apply). NFA trusts allowed Americans to acquire firearms similar to those acquired by their fellow citizens in "gun friendly" locations without the CLEO gatekeeper. But no more if Mr. Obama has his way. If the regulations that are proposed become law, the Berlin Wall-like CLEO obstacle will come crashing down. And almost no ones getting over it.
No More Firearms Coming Home from Overseas
Over the years the United States sent hundreds of thousands of firearms overseas to our allies. As time passed these firearms became obsolete, were replaced by more conventional firearms, and wound up stored in overseas warehouses by our allies. These firearms, before President Obama closed our borders to them, were welcomed back to the United States by firearm collectors throughout the country. Due to their age, these firearms are collector pieces and represent a part of our nation's history.
The firearms President Obama refers to are firearms like the M1 and M1 Garand. These heavy, semi-automatic, last century rifles that rarely (if ever) are used in crimes and are never "found on our streets." President Obama cleverly classifies these firearms as "military-grade" to scare us. By denying their importation, he claims he's keeping these "off our streets."
But to label these firearms as "military-grade" today is laughable. And to think that in denying the return of these firearms to the United States will reduce crime is just plain dumb. So dumb, in fact, it suggests he is either stupid or a manipulative liar. I know how I'm betting.
Compounding the insult, these firearms are commonly the ones available and distributed by the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). (If you are not already familiar with the CMP, please visit the CMP website here. Put briefly, the CMP was created by federal law and promotes firearm safety and responsibility. The following is from the CMP website:
The federal law enacted in 1996 (Title 36 U. S. Code, 0701-40733) that created the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety, Inc. (CPRPFS, the formal legal name of the CMP) mandates these key "functions for the corporation:
(1) To instruct citizens of the United States in marksmanship;
(2) To promote practice and safety in the use of firearms;
(3) To conduct competitions in the use of firearms and to award trophies, prizes, badges, and other insignia to competitors.
The law specifically states: In carrying out the Civilian Marksmanship Program, the corporation shall give priority to activities that benefit firearms safety, training, and competition for youth and that reach as many youth participants as possible.
The same firearms CMP uses to teach safety and firearm responsibility (and fund the CMP) are the same "military-style" firearms President Obama is now refusing to allow back into the United States, and is trying to "keep off our streets." Where they never were in the first place.
The president doesn't care about logic. I'm betting that this is yet another of a series of Second Amendment red taping efforts by President Obama under the guise "reducing gun violence." Anyone who knows all the facts, not just the ones provided by the White House press office, knows his true motive. Red tape the Second Amendment, to death.
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