I wrote two articles this week on my Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer website. One was Jacksonville Florida Gun Laws Are Not the Problem which pertains to Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown’s stance on Florida’s firearm laws in Jacksonville. The other article was about Florida Firearm Laws and Obama’s Gun Control Proposal. The reason that I wrote the articles was due to the mass attention to the White House’s proposed prohibitions on firearms and ammunition.
President Barack Obama announced his much-anticipated proposal yesterday. He made the proposal as an initiative to reduce gun violence in America. While there are Americans that support President Obama’s proposal, there are many that do not. In particular, the NRA responded to Obama’s proposed gun laws stating, “Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation. Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy.”
What is President Obama’s Gun Law Proposal? Obama’s proposal “includes both legislative proposals that would need to be acted on by Congress and executive actions he can do on his own.” The New York Times made a list showing President Obama’s proposed gun laws and restrictions on firearms.
Presidential Actions from the Executive Branch
Executive actions are those that the executive branch may do without the legislative branch. The president is considered part of the executive branch. Congress is the legislative branch. The executive actions proposed by President Obama are the following:
1. Issuing a presidential memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
2. 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.
3. Improving incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Publishing a letter from the A.T.F. to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
7. Starting a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
8. Reviewing safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
9. Issuing a presidential memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
10. Releasing a report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and making it widely available to law enforcement authorities.
11. Nominating an A.T.F. director.
12. Providing law enforcement authorities, first responders and school officials with proper training for armed attacks situations.
13. Maximizing enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
14. Issuing a presidential memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research gun violence.
15. 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.
16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
17. Releasing a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
18. Providing incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
19. Developing model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
20. Releasing a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
21. Finalizing regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within insurance exchanges.
22. Committing to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
23. 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.
Congressional Actions from the Legislative Branch
Obama’s proposal also included actions that must pass through the US Senate and House of Representatives. The proposed congressional actions are:
1. Requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales, including those by private sellers that currently are exempt.
2. Reinstating and strengthening the ban on assault weapons that was in place from 1994 to 2004.
3. Limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds.
4. Banning the possession of armor-piercing bullets by anyone other than members of the military and law enforcement.
5. Increasing criminal penalties for “straw purchasers,” people who pass the required background check to buy a gun on behalf of someone else.
6. Acting on a $4 billion administration proposal to help keep 15,000 police officers on the street.
7. Confirming President Obama’s nominee for director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
8. 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.
9. Financing programs to train more police officers, first responders and school officials on how to respond to active armed attacks.
10. Provide additional $20 million to help expand the a system that tracks violent deaths across the nation from 18 states to 50 states.
11. Providing $30 million in grants to states to help schools develop emergency response plans.
12. Providing financing to expand mental health programs for young people.
So far, this is only a proposal. Will the law change? Will Jacksonville criminal lawyers be faced with new gun crimes for things that were once legal? Will you need a Jacksonville lawyer for help with the new firearms laws? At this time, we will just have to wait and see.