Posted by Curt on 5 January, 2016 at 10:13 am. 10 comments already!


Charles C. W. Cooke:

Obama’s executive-led gun control push is finally underway. Per NPR:

ATF will play a central role in the administration’s move, by clarifying what it means to be “engaged in the business” of selling guns. Until now, some collectors and hobbyists have been able to avoid that designation. As a result, they haven’t needed a federal license to sell and they haven’t been required to conduct background checks on their customers. The new guidance from that Bureau is designed to require more such sellers to conduct background checks, even if they’re doing business only at gun shows or online.


The administration is also working to improve the quality of background checks by encouraging states and government agencies to share more information about criminal histories, domestic violence, and mental illness that could disqualify a person from buying a gun. And the FBI is hiring 230 additional staff people to speed the processing of background checks. Under current law, a gun sale can go forward if a background check is not completed within three days.

Arguendo, let’s presume that all these changes are legal (given, how tightly the laws are written, I’m skeptical). Has Obama lost his mind? This is a man, remember, who is supposed to be admirably dispassionate; a man who is supposed to understand how the game is played; a man who is supposed to reflexively refuse to be taken in by the emotion of the moment. And yet he’s going to use a good deal of his last year’s political capital in order to tweak a few minor rules around the edges? Why? Even if we’re generous and presume that every single one of these regulations finds its way permanently into the law, he will nevertheless have done nothing substantial to further “universal background checks”; he will have instituted none of his coveted magazine limits; and he will have banned none of the weapons that he disdains. Further, he will have set no meaningful precedents whatsoever. In other words: Even if he wins this round, he will have done precisely nothing of merit — except perhaps to have pleased his base and to have convinced the most ignorant parts of the electorate that he has finally stuck his finger into the NRA’s eye. Were these serious measures, I would be squealing. Instead, I’m amused. These are the dampest of squibs.

Which is to say that Obama’s behavior is not at all rational. As far as I can see, the president has announced these initiatives for no other reason than to satisfy his burning desire to say that he did “something” to advance gun control. That he in fact did nothing of note is neither here nor there. He needs the applause line — both now, and in his retirement — and he’s determined to get it.

When I say he did “nothing of note,” of course, I mean “nothing of note to advance his agenda.” As it happens, the president has done something “of note” tonight: He has hurt his own side. Were I a gun control advocate I’d be livid with him. Livid.

Why? Two reasons:

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