It’s clear the current administration is no friend of the U.S. Constitution, and so once again President Obama is using and abusing the powers of executive orders to accomplish things he doesn’t want to sit around and run past Congress. (In other words, allow our democracy to function as one.)
While none of the president’s twenty-three orders related to gun control are part of a president’s mandated powers, a few raised special concern when I reviewed them, because of their egregious nature. They include the following.
2. Address 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.
For the underinformed, the President is talking about HIPPA here, the legislation that absolutely guarantees an individual’s right to doctor-patient confidentiality, both in the medical and mental health fields.
This is no small matter. My wife is finishing her training to become a clinical counselor, and the primary focus of one of her classes was HIPPA regulations. The law is so strict that she could come under scrutiny simply by talking to me, her spouse, about a client of hers.
If patient confidentiality is so sacrosanct that a doctor or counselor can’t even talk to their own spouse about their day’s work — and I believe that to be a proper and correct standard — how on Earth does our president get away with labeling HIPPA an “unnecessary legal barrier,” that’s what I’d like to see addressed.
Of course, these are being done as “executive actions,” so it can’t even be debated in the House or Senate. Very asinine.
4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
Oh, he means U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who has been called upon to step down since last summer for refusing to disclose information on Fast and Furious, among other contempt of Congress charges. That attorney general? We’re supposed to trust that he won’t just decide being an NRA member or a registered member of the GOP won’t suddenly qualify you as a “dangerous person?”
Good grief, as Charlie Brown would say.
14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
Umm… yeah, whatever that means. I’m pretty sure the decision to shoot up a public place isn’t caused by a virus, but… whatever. Liberalism is the politics of feeling better, not the politics of results, after all.
Even if one looks at it from a mental health perspective, there’s not just one affliction that causes individuals to shoot places up. Sure, in some cases, one might find that a handful of shooters had taken Oxycontin or something like that… but Oxycontin is used by thousands of people and only a handful go on shooting rampages.
But hey, it’s not the worst executive order of the batch, so have at it, I guess. It’s not like there’s a budget deficit and a need to crack down on pointless spending, after all.
16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
Except that it does. Very specifically so. But, hey, this is liberalism… the law only means what the President says it does. Green is purple, if that’s what the president says, right?
But the worse part is that Obama is now using ObamaCare to turn doctors and nurses into law enforcement agents, rather than healers. Still love ObamaCare?
17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
This, as far as I know, is already true. It’s one of the rare exceptions in the HIPPA regulations as they existed B.O. (Before Obama). All medical and mental health workers are already currently required to report exchanges between patients and themselves if they believe the patient to be “an imminent threat to themselves or others.”
Well, I guess the president wanted to pad things out.
And that’s about it. Some of the other items are padding, too. Others are not overly concerning because they seem relatively meaningless at worst, and potentially even helpful. Like this one:
23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.
Sure, why not? Mental health is very likely a far more important factor than violence in media, or private gun ownership by the law-abiding, anyway.
So, launch a national dialogue on mental health. Do that. In fact, do mostly that. It’s a lot closer to being on-point than the other 22 items on this list.