“Even as Congress fails to act on common-sense proposals to reduce gun violence … President Obama and Vice President Biden remain committed to using all the tools in their power to make our communities safer,” administration flack Tobin Marcus announced on the White House blog.
He was referring to two executive orders, one he said would close “a loophole that has allowed machine guns and other particularly dangerous weapons to get into the wrong hands,” and the other “to keep military-grade guns off the streets.” In other words, he was talking about adding regulatory burdens on National Firearms Act gun trusts, set up with lawyers by collectors and investors, and about halting importation of surplus firearms such as the venerable M1 Garand, portrayed by the White House as the street thug’s weapon of choice.
Unsurprisingly, the only real world “crime” example cited in the gun trust rule change justification involved an applicant who was denied transfer of a silencer, meaning current rules were adequate to stop him. That raises the question of just what the problem requiring a solution is, as nothing about gun trusts overrides federal laws that say prohibited persons may not even touch a gun. The problem is, this was the justification used by the National Firearms Act Trade and Collector’s Association, who actually petitioned for the rule change under the assumption that they’d be able to win elimination of a required signature from local Chief Law Enforcement Officers.
Unfortunately, the government proposal didn’t work out that way.
“ATF will not be eliminating the CLEO requirement and instead imposing it on all entities,” attorney Joshua Prince of the Firearms Industry Consulting Group revealed.
For its part, NFATCA now claims “the draft … does not reflect any discussions or negotiations we have had with the Federal Government regarding same. We did not support or advocate for the efforts of the Executive Branch…”
As for the surplus military firearm import ban, reports that the 110-year-old Civilian Marksmanship program would be shut down by the executive action have been refuted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which issued a clarification saying “CMP does not technically ‘re-import’ its rifles, so its acquisition of these rifles is not affected.”
“[A]nti-gunners’ worn-out ‘on the streets’ line, always grossly exaggerated, is especially so in this instance,” NRA observed, concluding “Obama’s policies are driven by little, if anything, more than ideology unfiltered by reality.”
What they’re filtered by is an administration bent on having its way regardless of whether Congress will give it to them or not. Mobilizing to respond to the gun trust threat, attorney Prince scheduled a “Day of Reckoning” providing sample letters and contact information so activists could demand leadership from their representatives. And writer/activist Kurt Hofmann reminded his readers of H.R.2247, the Collectible Firearms Protection Act that would “provide that certain firearms listed as curios or relics may be imported … without obtaining authorization from the Department of State or the Department of Defense.”
But there’s a catch: Currently languishing in committee with only nine co-sponsors, expect no action on that unless you demand leadership from your representative.
Notes: This column has been corrected to remove references to media reports that the Civilian Marksmanship Program would be affected by the executive action banning surplus military firearm imports.”
By David Codrea