Lund on Executive Action on Guns

Professor Nelson Lund finds the Obama administration's announced progress on the executive actions it promised to take to reduce gun violence to be somewhat short on executive action.

In Lund's opinion, the accomplishments can be summarized roughly as urging other parties to do what the administration would like them to do, beginning study on several issues related to gun crime and mental illness, deciding to spend public funds to assist state and local governments to do things they might wish to do to promote public safety, undertaking administrative rulemakings that enhance background check functions, attempting to widen mental health coverage while clarifying existing laws governing disclosure of threats of violence to authorities and providing for gun safety discussion with clients, and requiring that his administration more effectively enforce existing laws.

The administration recently announced that it had made significant progress on 21 of the 23 executive actions designed to reduce gun violence subsequent to mass murders committed in recent years.

Guest Post: Obama Administration Announces Progress on Executive Action on Guns, EXECUTIVEBRANCHreview, June 18, 2013. By Nelson Lund.

"First, a number of actions amount to little more than urging other parties to do things the administration would like them to do. The administration, for example, has asked Congress to pass legislation that Congress has already rejected. Gun owners will be encouraged to report lost and stolen weapons to law enforcement. The private sector will be asked 'to develop innovative and cost-effective gun safety technology.' The administration has also tried to 'launch a national conversation to increase understanding about mental health.'

"Second, the administration has begun to study several issues related to gun crime and mental health. In what may be the most controversial step, the administration has decided that the legal ban on using federal funds to 'advocate or promote gun control' will now be interpreted by the administration to permit the Centers for Disease Control to 'research the causes and prevention of gun violence, including links between video games, media images, and violence.'" 

Read the article