Announced on January 5th, 2016 by a tearful Barack Obama, the White House's executive orders on firearms were hailed by the mainstream media (particularly in Europe) as a "solution" to America's "problem with guns".
It's actually adamant to whoever has read them and to whoever knows the American system how said orders are not much more than a publicity stunt, with little real-life effect − particularly given how the right to keep and bear arms is clearly enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and how the way U.S. gun laws are written leaves too little in the way of leeway for executive interpretation.
By any means, less than twenty-four hours later, the National Shooting Sports Foundation − the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry of America − issued a commentary on said executive orders, as follows.
We all share the goal of reducing the intentional misuse of guns and enhancing the safety of our communities. As the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) will carefully review all aspects of the executive actions that President Obama announced today. Much remains to be spelled out. In the interim we have some initial reactions:
- We support further resources being allocated to staffing and increasing operational hours for the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to make the system more efficient and responsive.
- We represent Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs). The criteria for what will constitute being “engaged in the business” going forward needs considerable clarification and raises questions about enforceability.
- The number of firearms lost or stolen while in transit to or from FFLs is less than 0.15 percent of the number manufactured and imported in a given year. In these rare occurrences, FFLs already actively participate in ATF’s long-standing voluntary reporting program and FFLs and common carriers work closely with ATF to investigate them. Proposals to make a shipping FFL responsible for tracking and reporting firearms no longer in their inventories, after the legal title has been transferred to the purchaser, are misdirected, as the receiving FFL is in the best position to know if it receives its shipment.
- We have long called for the effective enforcement of the numerous laws already on the books regarding the criminal misuse of firearms and would encourage the administration to carry through on this directive.
- NSSF has been working actively since early 2013 through our FixNICS initiative to encourage states to report all appropriate adjudicated mental health records to NICS and has succeeded in getting legislation passed in more than a dozen states. We welcome the administration’s attention to this issue.
- With regard to the development of “smart-gun” technology, the industry has never opposed its development. How additional government research into this technology would advance it is unclear. Law enforcement agencies and consumers themselves will have to make the determination whether acquisition of firearms with this technology “would be consistent with operational needs,” as the White House itself states. We would continue to oppose mandates for this technology, particularly since there are well proven existing methods to secure firearms, and firearms accidents are at historic low levels.
NSSF will have additional responses in the days, weeks and months ahead, especially as federal departments and agencies begin the work of carrying out the executive orders.
The executive orders − also commented by the NRA and JPFO − came as the State of Texas enacted its new carry laws, becoming the forty-fifth U.S. State to allow open carry of defensive firearms.
Denounced by the European mainstream media as a "Far West" law, the new Texas open carry law is all but that.
Starting 2016, law-abiding Texas citizens holding a valid concealed carry license (which is granted only after an extensive background check and a course that includes a shooting class and test) will be free to decide whether they want to carry their legally-owned defensive pistol open or concealed.
The State of Texas is one of the hottest in the United States, and wearing long clothes to conceal a lawfully-carried defensive weapon can be very uncomfortable, but this is not the main reason why Texans hailed the new open carry law. Simply put, law-abiding Texans were sick and tired to have to hide their exercise of a constitutional right − and open carry is considered as the quintessence of the right to bear arms.
This just goes to show how hard will it be to anybody to trick Americans into accepting any limitation to what they see as the right that keeps all other rights safe from tyranny.
In the meanwhile, on the other side of the world, while the European Union plans a massive gun ban attempt, the German city of Cologne was shocked by a wave of over ninety sexual aggressions during the New Year's eve; and while the President of the United States cried in front of the cameras for how America has "too many" guns and "too easily" accessible by the "wrong" people, North Korea tested its first H-bomb.
Our suggestion to President Obama and to the European Commission is to stop attepting to impose limitations on the purchase, ownership and carry of the most effective tools of self-defense, and to shift their attention to much more pressing national and international security issues. As long as lawmakers will focus on depriving law-abiding citizens of their rights, it should not come as a surprise if more and more citizens will decide that they don't feel safe without a firearm.