Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Devil's In The (Lack Of) Details Of Obama's Gun Control Orders

The Devil's In The Details Of Obama's Gun Control Orders
Apart from the fact that executive orders are intended to direct the staff of the Executive Branch, not impose laws on the citizenry, the real malfeasance in the 23 orders regarding gun control Obama is expected to sign is, ironically, their generality. That's to say, they're subject to wide interpretation and have to the potential of being used to greatly expand the government's power over the American people without congressional authorization. In my opinion, the following are the orders that have the most potential for abuse:
Order #1: Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system. 
"Relevant data" is a highly subjective term. I wouldn't put it past enterprising bureaucrats to include web search history and Facebook activity in the "relevant" list. Order #1 is a Pandora's Box.
Order #2: Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.
Again, the key word in this order is another highly subjective term. What's an "unnecessary legal barrier"? Is HIPAA an "unnecessary legal barrier"? Another Pandora's Box.
Order #4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
This is basically an order to profile innocent people to ascertain the probability that they will use a firearm illegally. And again, subjectivity: the profile of a killer is in the eye of the beholder. If someone massacres a school dressing "metal", does everyone who dresses that way get placed on a list?
Order #14: Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
This order directs the CDC to discard scientific principles and start making *guesses* (which, of course, could be influenced by ideology). Correlations can be drawn regarding gun violence, but there are far too many variables in this world to determine a *cause* of any complex cultural phenomenon. (And, make no mistake, gun violence is an American cultural phenomenon.)
Order #16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes. 
Why would a doctor have any business knowing whether or not his patients own firearms? This order makes medical providers government snoops, whose information could be accessed by more easily as per order #2.
Order #21: Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.
It would seem that medical benefits would have nothing to do with gun control, but I could imagine that this order could open the door to blacklisting. Those placed on "The List" authorized by orders #1 and #4 could potentially be denied coverage based on this order.

I'm sure some of the other orders could be abused as well.