Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Obama's Executive Action On Guns: "Modest"?

   David Bernstein says so.
   Contra Bernstein, Josh Blackman seems to disagree, and seems to think that this is stage-setting for further actions by blue states that can then easily be generalized to the national level.
I don't know what to think. The suggested measures don't seem prima facie unreasonable to me, though some of them don't actually seem aimed at curtailing mass shootings. E.g. microstamping isn't going to help against an insane person who plans to die in the act. And, of course, there's the perennial problem that it's tough to formulate legislation that will make a dent in crimes committed with illegal weapons.
   Anyway, as is so often the case, I don't know what to think. In general I'm concerned about ever-expanding executive power, but I don't know enough to know whether we should be concerned about this particular use of executive power.
   And, of course, Obama's an almost preternaturally reasonable guy...so I tend to give him a (defeasible) benefit of doubt.

4 Comments:

Blogger The Mystic said...

I would be very interested in hearing if Obama has good, specific reason to suspect that these executive actions will curtail mass shootings.

'Cause they don't seem to me to be anything that would've stopped many of them. Correct me if I'm wrong, but most of our mass shooters would (or did) pass background checks and were free of prohibitive mental health diagnoses. As you point out, the microstamping thing won't do anything against those who expect to die while committing their atrocities.

Given any significant availability of modern weaponry to such a large country's population, I'm afraid we're kinda stuck with the occasional atrocity in this country. Disarming Americans entirely is probably unwise and totally impossible anyway.

Given only the power of modern weaponry and the fact that Americans have access to it, I really don't know what alternative there is than to be armed on a regular basis, oneself. I really can't think of a better way to counter such occasions than by having more law-abiding citizens armed and ready at all times.

I hate it - it sounds like there must be something wrong with that, but I can't figure out what it is or what might be better.

And of course, there are problems with that, too; the large amount of prohibitions and regulations which must be obeyed (many people can't be armed at their place of employment, for example, which severely curtails the effectiveness of such a plan) along with the general difficulty of responsibly carrying a weapon and the insanity one faces if discovered..

Though Obama seems to continue to forcefully assert that there are obvious things we can do to help, but I really don't know if that's true or not. This list of executive actions doesn't strike me as being even close to a solution, and the political price Democrats are likely to pay for it seems unwise to accept if no real solution is being purchased with it.

What a mess.

12:50 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Yeah, I'm with you. I don't see these measures helping much.

1:15 PM  
Blogger tehr0x0r said...

I like idea of the four actions the President proposed, but the background checks part is unconstitutional, not from a 2nd Amendment standpoint, but from a Article I/II standpoint.

Assuming there is no revocation of funds or the funds the President is planning on using for the added ATF agents, mental health care, and safety technology those all look OK to me.

That said, I do agree that it seems unlikely this would have prevented any of the shootings that the President cited in his speech. And as Mystic pointed out, there is going to be hell to pay for very little impact. If you are going to take unilateral action go big or go home, even if it gets struck as unconstitutional at least you made a stand. It seems to me that this action will likely be struck and no real points are earned for taking a stand.

9:30 PM  
Blogger Pete Mack said...

What's crazy about this controversy is that isn't, really. Closing background check loopholes is overwhelmingly popular, poling around 75%

1:49 AM  

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