Midnight Executive Order Considered for Private Gun Sales

Constitution_shoot_gunAre you ready for President Barack Obama’s midnight executive orders on private gun sales? They are coming.

“The White House will likely go around Congress and require background checks for all ‘in the business’ of selling firearms,” reported Bloomberg News’ Paul Barrett on Dec. 28.

Although federal law already requires computerized background checks be conducted by licensed gun dealers, there is an exclusion under the law for certain private sales. Specifically, the law states gun dealers do “not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms.”

Ted Cruz 2016


Nor does it apply to “a person who makes occasional repairs of firearms, or who occasionally fits special barrels, stocks, or trigger mechanisms to firearms.”

That part of the law was actually not a part of the original Gun Control Act of 1968.

It was put in place in the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 partly in response to a 1982 Senate subcommittee report finding that approximately 75 percent of prosecutions by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms prosecutions were being “aimed at ordinary citizens who had neither criminal intent nor knowledge, but were enticed by agents into unknowing technical violations.”

Woodrow Wilcox


In other words, the law was being used by the government to target otherwise law-abiding gun owners, hence the reform. The Firearm Owners Protection Act passed on a bipartisan basis — at the time Democrats controlled the House, and Republicans controlled the Senate — by voice votes in both chambers. President Ronald Reagan signed it into law.

Agree or disagree with the law on its merits that is the context for the current statute.

Presumably, it is these private gun sales that Obama will be attempting to address in his executive order, although given the clear letter of the law, it is hard to see how he will actually get around the provisions that exclude occasional private gun sales from being considered “in the business” of selling firearms.

Those private sales are either are excluded from the requirements or they are not, and under federal law, they are excluded, like it or not.

Of course that has not stopped Obama before from unilaterally changing the law to suit his political agenda when he lacks the support of Congress.

For example, Obama granted executive amnesty and legal status to millions of illegal immigrants with U.S.-born children under the guise of prosecutorial discretion simply because he could not secure votes in Congress to pass the immigration legislation he preferred.

But that is not our system of government. If Obama wants to have a debate about private gun sales, there is a forum for that, the U.S. Congress. And if he lacks the votes to get it done, nothing happens. It could become an election issue for members of Congress, but it is up to political parties to develop public support for their respective party platforms, elect members to Congress, and then follow through upon achieving majorities. Failing that, no action should be expected on any policy, even one on gun sales.

Bypassing Congress to block private gun sales or require background checks where federal law explicitly says none are required will only feed perceptions that Democrats want confiscate guns in violation of the Second Amendment or institute national databases of gun owners, not to mention violate the constitutional separation of powers.

Unless, of course, the executive order is merely a 2016 election year stunt that will simply repeat what the federal law already states, including its exclusions for occasional private gun sales, all the while pretending that some vast loophole has been closed.

In other words, something to placate Obama’s political base without actually accomplishing anything.

Until we see the Obama executive order, we won’t know. All the American people admittedly have to go on right now is a vague report from Bloomberg News. In the meantime, Congress must remain vigilant against any more executive power grabs by this administration, which is becoming a habit.

This article is printed with the permission of the author(s). Opinions expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the article’s author(s), or of the person(s) or organization(s) quoted therein, and do not necessarily represent those of American Clarion or Dakota Voice LLC.

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Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government (ALG) News Bureau. Americans for Limited Government is a non- partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms,private property rights and core American liberties.
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  • jimrussell

    Dumb, dumber, dumbest. From open carry to wacky text books,Texas is proving it’s self to be the not just the 2nd most populous U S State but number one in gun toting
    ignorance and unfounded paranoiac hysteria. Look where really dumb
    ideas and the NRA has the most influence, the decades long sub-grade
    educational system States.of the Confederacy and Red States. No wonder
    the Republican’s want to dissolve the Department of Education, they
    don’t need no troublesome educated eggheads, common sense, science, or
    unvarnished accurate history textbooks.

    • DCM7

      Ah, yes, the old “people I disagree with are the ones who reject education, common sense, science & history” claim — coming from someone who (based on his comment history) himself rejects a lot of what those things actually point to!

      • jimrussell

        Sorry you don’t understand, but then again you’re a Republican.

        • DCM7

          I neither said nor showed that I “didn’t understand” something.

          All of your responses here are basically just more name-calling. If you can’t respond in a way that at least attempts serious discussion, don’t expect to be taken seriously.

          • jimrussell

            Two posts that obviously contradict your assertion that you understand. Clearly you don’t.

            • DCM7

              You’re just proving my point about “name-calling,” you know.

    • http://www.americanclarion.com/ Bob Ellis

      The primary reason conservatives want to abolish the Department of Education is because there is no constitutional authority for it. Go head; I invite and challenge you to look in Article 1 Section 8 where the enumerated powers of the federal government are found, or anywhere else in the constitution for that matter, for authority for the federal government to be involved in education.

      Another important reason conservatives want to abolish the federal Department of Education (created by President Carter as a payoff to the teacher’s unions that helped him) is that it has aggressively promoted the dumbing-down of American citizens to the point where, like you, many of them love a government that refuses to obey it’s highest law (the constitution) and loathe their very own God-given rights such as the right to keep and bear arms-critical not only to personal self-defense but also the defense of liberty from tyranny.

      A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

      • jimrussell

        The primary reason Republican’s want to abolish the Dept. of Education is ignorance. There’s no one who more believes themselves smart than those that know the least.

        • http://www.americanclarion.com/ Bob Ellis

          As the decline of knowledge and civic responsibility since the Department of Education was implemented in 1980 illustrates, ignorance has been its greatest product.

          It is ignorance (and Leftist propaganda) that we seek to diminish, as well as contempt for the U.S. Constitution.

    • Thisoldspouse

      LOL! You cast accusations of “paranoia” at Texas, but fail to notice your own psychotic paranoia over people who arm themselves. I can’t figure out such over-the-top drama over something that, as you always say about redefined marriage, “doesn’t affect you in the slightest.”

      • http://www.americanclarion.com/ Bob Ellis

        Interestingly, I looked up Jim Russell’s IP address and he lives in a Chicago suburb. If memory serves, Chicago has some of the toughest gun control laws in the country…and some of the worst gun violence in the country.

        An intelligent and informed person would connect the dots…then arm themselves against both neighborhood tyranny and government tyranny. But then, when it comes to the average product of the public education system today, we usually aren’t dealing with informed people.

        • jimrussell

          Chicago is proof of the NRA argument of paranoiac ignorance.

          • http://www.americanclarion.com/ Bob Ellis

            And yet again we see childish insult without even the slightest attempt at a factual rebuttal.

            Those of limited vision might find that entertaining, but intelligent people don’t. Enjoy your delusions.

      • jimrussell

        I’m not paranoid nor afraid. But my gramma that went through the Pacific in WWII as a combat nurse while we fought real and capable dangerous enemies said you could come over to her house and hide under her bed.

        • Thisoldspouse

          Try calling the victims and families of San Bernadino, Fort Hood, and numerous other domestic terrorist sites “paranoid” and you’ll have ample reason for that label yourself, troll.