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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

 
Reversing the consensus on necessary cowardice

by digby


Despite the naysaying by the likes of David Gregory on TV this morning, the President's proposal on gun violence sounds pretty good:

1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.

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.

3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.

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.

5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.

6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.

7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.

8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.

10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.

11. Nominate an ATF director.

12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.

13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.

14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.

15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge 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. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.

18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.

19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.

20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.

21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.

22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.

23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.

I had heard that they were going to propose funding for more police in schools, which I thought was a fairly lame idea, even though it's popular, but I don't see it explicitly listed there. On television they reported it as a "sweetener" to get some Republicans on board with the rest of the plan. Not likely, in my opinion, but whatever.

The rest sounds pretty much like common sense to me. The only questionable stuff is in this idea of tracking "dangerous" people. I don't know how that's going to be defined, but I'm guessing neither the gun rights advocates or general civil libertarians are going to feel comfortable with that unless it's very clearly spelled out. Certainly the idea of tracking the "mentally ill" is a Pandora's box, but the emphasis on mental illness coverage in the ACA is a very good approach.

Over all, a welcome offensive on this issue after years of retreating. I had thought that gun control had permanently gone the way of the death penalty and that it would be decades before we revisited it. But I suppose the mowing down schoolchildren does have away of focusing the mind.

Good for President Obama for taking a bold position. I don't know where this ends up -- lots of Democrats are in the thrall of the gun lobby too --- but it's an excellent use of presidential leadership to take such a hard line on such a contentious issue even if the outcome isn't assured. Perhaps there's a lesson in this for other fights as well.

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