Obama amends gun law without congress

Private sales become subject to licensing

The White House today announced several legal decrees changing the law on weapons. Such decrees can be ied by the U.S. president without the approval of the two chambers of parliament. However, they are often of limited duration, because successors in office can repeal the regulations just as quickly and without approval.

One of the executive orders extends the requirement to vet gun purchasers to non-commercial gun sellers. Such private gun sellers will also need a permit in the future. In practice, this will affect sales over the Internet and at gun shows, among other things. The databases used to check gun buyers will contain more data, which will also be provided by the state authorities – for example, on diseases or domestic violence.

In addition, the FBI is to hire 230 new employees to check gun buyers. The Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security must provide funding for the development of smart guns that prevent unauthorized persons from using weapons. And an additional $500 million for treatment of the mentally ill should also help reduce gunshot deaths.

Because Congress already approved the budget, it can’t stop funds from being used for it until September 2016. But Jim Jordan, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, has already held out the prospect of Republicans taking legal action against one or more of the measures once the details are known. Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, criticized the moves to tighten gun laws as bypassing Congress. The had debated and rejected Obama’s plans. In his opinion, no president should be able to overrule such a decision.

Obama amends gun law without congress

Houston gun show. Photo: MR Glasgow. License: CC BY 2.0.

Obama had already announced on Monday that he believed that not only U.S. citizens, but also the majority of gun owners among them supported his measures. While these could not fully prevent violent crime, they were potentially "Saving lives and sparing families suffering".

One U.S. burger who does not support the executive orders is Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. The poll leader told CNN on Monday that the new regulations are another step toward Americans soon not being able to buy guns at all.

Other Republican presidential candidates also criticized the plans: Ted Cruz spoke of "Abuse of Power" and "renewed attempt to take away people’s weapons", Rand Paul announced he would "with teeth and claws" fighting the orders, Chris Christie (who wants to deport Russian planes in Syria) compared Obama to a "stubborn child" and Marco Rubio said that cases like that of the nine-year-old girl from Florida, who was hit in the arm on New Year’s Eve by a bullet fired out of sheer courage, were a social problem and could not be prevented by gun laws.

The fact that many Americans are skeptical of the government in Washington and the federal authorities when it comes to gun control is also due to the fact that they do not always act in accordance with the rule of law: Among other things, this is currently indicated by accusations that became known after the occupation of the Malheur Nature Preserve. There, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) allegedly prered ranchers to sell land by shutting off water points, flooding, and other bullying tactics.

According to rancher Gary Miller, backfires to fight fires for which the two Hammond ranchers unwilling to sell were sentenced to heavy prison terms under anti-terrorism laws were also set by BLM employees in 2012 to protect land from wildfires caused by lightning strikes. In the process, 65 of his cattle were burned, he said, without being compensated for damages.

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