Friday, January 18, 2013

My thoughts on the proposed actions


Ok, so my point of view has always been that real discussion of the issues is far better than “Obama is Hitler” or “Romney hates women” (both of which I believe to be false. Hitler had a mustache.) So I found where the New York Times had published President Obama’s proposed actions to prevent gun violence in the U.S.

I was rather surprised by my own personal response to a lot of these notions. I think talking about the different points is beneficial. The one I’ve seen the most dialogue about is the assault weapons ban. I think that may be an “agree to disagree” point for many, but there is a lot of other material here ladies and gentlemen. Let’s read.

(my $0.02 are in bold under the proposed item.


Proposed Congressional Actions

  • Requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales, including those by private sellers that currently are exempt.
    • Ok, fair enough.
  • Reinstating and strengthening the ban on assault weapons that was in place from 1994 to 2004.
    • I’m assuming no expiration on this ban?
  • Limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds.
  • Banning the possession of armor-piercing bullets by anyone other than members of the military and law enforcement.
    • While I understand the “why would you need armor-piercing bullets?” argument….were armor piercing bullets used by any of the mass shooters we’re talking about? I don’t feel like it was widely talked about if so.
  • Increasing criminal penalties for "straw purchasers," people who pass the required background check to buy a gun on behalf of someone else.
    • Ok, fair enough I guess…though I don’t know what the existing penalties are. 
  • Acting on a $4 billion administration proposal to help keep 15,000 police officers on the street.
    • YES! PLEASE! I know that Tulsa had to let a lot of police officers go because of budget. I hate having to cut police, firefighters, or medical personnel. I don’t see how this is necessarily gun related…
  • Confirming President Obama's nominee for director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
    • ….really?
  • Eliminating a restriction that requires the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to allow the importation of weapons that are more than 50 years old.
    • ….really? 
  • Financing programs to train more police officers, first responders and school officials on how to respond to active armed attacks.
    • Ok, fair. 
  • Provide additional $20 million to help expand the a system that tracks violent deaths across the nation from 18 states to 50 states.
    • If only major news networks hadn’t eliminated their investigative reporting departments so they could do some of that whole tracking, research, reporting stuff as well…because wouldn’t it be nice if we cared more about this than who was workin’ the twitter with which news anchor?
  • Providing $30 million in grants to states to help schools develop emergency response plans.
    • I’m never going to complain about funding to help schools do anything.
  • Providing financing to expand mental health programs for young people.
    • YES! Please! Mental wellness programs even. Stress isn’t talked about enough and kids aren’t generally given a lot of help in learning how to manage it.

Executive actions

  • Issuing a presidential memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
    • because it’s not? what are we considering relevant? that’s kinda vague. 
  • Addressing unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.
    • I feel like the type of information they’re talking about needs to be elaborated upon more specifically. 
  • Improving incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
    • good call
  • Directing the attorney general to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks
    • I really want a clear definition of what “dangerous people” means 
  • Proposing a rule making to give law enforcement authorities the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
    • yeah, that’s fair as long as they do it in a very timely manner…like “within 48 hours” or something should be stipulated. Otherwise what is to prevent them holding the gun for weeks because “the background check hasn’t been completed”
  • Publishing a letter from the A.T.F. to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
    • ok.
  • Starting a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
    • wait…there wasn’t one already that the NRA was pushing? I mean…I’m surprised it’s not in the PASS in Oklahoma, but I always think more knowledge and information is a good thing.
  • Reviewing safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
    • …how does this prevent mass murder incidence?
  • Issuing a presidential memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
    • uh huh…they do this on CSI all the time.
  • Releasing a report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and making it widely available to law enforcement authorities.
    • hmmmk
  • Nominating an A.T.F. director.
    • The one congress needs to approve?
  • Providing law enforcement authorities, first responders and school officials with proper training for armed attacks situations.
    • yep.
  • Maximizing enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
    • I feel like these words don’t really mean anything.
  • Issuing a presidential memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research gun violence.
    • I’m assuming this means gun violence as linked to mental health which is why this would be under their jurisdiction?
  • Directing the attorney general to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenging the private sector to develop innovative technologies.
    • ok.
  • Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
    • I didn’t think this was an issue. I’m pretty sure I’ve been asked this at well child checks…maybe I’m making that up.
  • Releasing a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
    • “Danger to self or others” right?
  • Providing incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
    • not sure what a “school resource officer” is…so add that to my “look it up” list.
  • Developing model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
    • ok.  
  • Releasing a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
    • to clear up what confusion? medicaid must cover:……?
  • Finalizing regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within insurance exchanges.
    • I assume the implication is that mental health will be considered officially part of health and it’s treatment must be covered. Thank goodness.
  • Committing to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
    • words that mean nothing…
  • Starting a national dialogue on mental health led by Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, and Arne Duncan, the secretary of education.
    • YES! PLEASE! Can we talk more about what services are available? About mental health conditions that onset when people are young adults even? More about dementia. More about treatments (medical and otherwise).

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