Port: Cramer’s concerns about Obama inflaming public are valid
MINOT -- When President Barack Obama announced executive orders ushering in new enforcement of existing gun control policies, North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer had a provocative response."This is not helpful. It is an overreach," he said in a...
MINOT -- When President Barack Obama announced executive orders ushering in new enforcement of existing gun control policies, North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer had a provocative response.
“This is not helpful. It is an overreach,” he said in a press release shortly after the announcement. “Frankly, I’m concerned about the type of reaction he’s going to get to it.”
Cramer’s critics pounced on that last statement, treating it as though it were some sort of an incitement to violence, but he’s got a point.
Equally important to what policies the government passes is how those policies are passed. The beauty of representative government is that it produces policy outcomes the governed can accept if not necessarily like. They accept it because they trust that the process which produced the policy was generally fair, and that they and/or their elected representatives had a say in it.
This is in contrast to, say, monarchies or dictatorships where the whims of the supreme leader often had to be implemented at the point of a sword or the barrel of a gun, as the case may be.
Americans care deeply about their gun rights, as evidenced by the surge in gun and ammunition sales every time Obama even hints at a gun control agenda. When our president goes outside of the legislative process to announce significant changes to the way the federal government enforces existing gun laws, we shouldn’t be surprised when the American people are enraged.
Not just because of the policy changes, but because the changes were made by a man acting as though he is a sort of elected monarch.
Which isn’t to say that the policies themselves aren’t worthy of anger. Obama administration officials have suggested that selling even just one gun, in certain circumstances, could get you branded as a firearms dealer operating without a license under these new enforcement measures.
That’s a chilling thought.
What Obama announced, in part, is an expansion of whom the feds might classify as a firearms dealer and subject to licensing requirements. Selling even just one gun at a gun show or through an online classified website could get you prosecuted as a felon for not abiding by gun dealer licensing requirements.
Obama also announced that he would be eliminating some health care privacy protections to allow reporting of mental health issues to gun control databases. While no reasonable person wants to put a gun in the hands of someone who is actually mentally ill, I think we can all agree that a term like “mentally ill” can be malleable and subjective.
It’s not at all unreasonable to think a policy change with such sweeping implications should have been subjected to the full legislative debate and scrutiny of Congress before becoming law.
All the more galling were the theatrics Obama deployed in announcing these changes through executive fiat. He set the stage with sympathetic victims of gun violence, and then choked up when mentioning the slaughter of young children at an elementary school shooting in Connecticut, as if his proposals would do something to stop those sort of mass shootings.
They won’t, but don’t take my word for it.
“The gun control measures a tearful President Barack Obama announced Tuesday would not have prevented the slaughters of 20 first-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, or 14 county workers at a holiday party in San Bernardino, California,” the Associated Press reported in a fact check article noting that “an Associated Press review shows, they would have had no impact in keeping weapons from the hands of suspects in several of the deadliest recent mass shootings that have spurred calls for tighter gun control.”
Obama announced significant changes in gun control enforcement that will open the door to increased bureaucratic harassment of law-abiding gun owners while doing essentially nothing to reduce the unlawful use of guns.
You bet that’s going to make people mad. Cramer is right to be worried about the ramifications. Obama, as president, has been a divider, making Americans trust one another less. His gun control announcement is just the latest example.
Port is the founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, a North Dakota political blog.