The conventional wisdom is that in a president’s final year, they work under the radar, biding their time as a lame duck as the two parties fight out the presidential election. As with so much else in his presidency, this won’t be the case with Barack Obama.
President Obama is wasting no time, using the first month of 2016 to launch a series of actions designed to reverse the tide of NRA-enabled gun violence affecting the country.
According to gun industry insiders and others familiar with the proposals, the changes include requiring an expanded number of small-scale gun sellers to be licensed — and therefore conduct background checks — whenever selling a weapon. This wouldn’t close the so-called gun show loophole, though it has the potential to narrow it.
The administration is also expected to impose tighter rules for reporting guns that get lost or stolen on their way to a buyer.
Thanks to a patchwork system of rules put in place largely with the backing of the NRA in both parties, there is a limited scope to what the president can achieve without the help of Congress. But President Obama has determined that something must be done, and is using the legal power of his office to make it happen.
Measures to prevent gun violence like Sandy Hook or Aurora or Charleston or every day across America are actually quite popular. Expanded background checks, closing the gun show loophole, and limiting the capacity of gun magazines are all popular – even when gun owning NRA supporters have been polled.
But the NRA threatens any and all politicians who don’t toe the line on its hardcore gun agenda, and thanks to a constant diet of fear and propaganda it feeds to its supporters (the NRA has suggested ISIS is targeting individual homes who need gun protection), the NRA is well-financed in its quest to flood America with firearms.
But they are beatable. The NRA spent millions to oppose Obama’s election in 2008 and 2012 and were unsuccessful. They have also lost races against candidates for the House, Senate, and in gubernatorial and local elections. One such politician is Virginia’s Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe who was targeted by the NRA before his election, but still won. Now Gov. McAuliffe has announced an executive order banning the open carry of firearms in state buildings in order to preserve public security.
The NRA is well-armed politically, but it cannot and doesn’t win every fight.
Featured image via Flickr