VP Biden announced that the White House is prepared to use Executive Orders to achieve a gun control agenda. I've seen a lot of speculation about what that means so I decided to look into what is possible.
The first step is to look at Mayor Bloomberg's blueprint. There is all sorts of goodness here from a gun control point of view, little of which requires congressional action. A lot of these items involve relatively obscure things which would hose over gun owners without raising as many hackles. For example, how many folks would be up in arms over maintaining a registry of default proceed sales? How many people even know what that means?
This blueprint includes other obvious low hanging fruit, banning the importation of foreign "non-sporting firearms." MAIG specifically highlights the AK-47, which is a no brainer, but I'd imagine that just about ANY foreign gun which is not a high priced shotgun (more on that later) is at risk.
Foreign ammo also looks like it could be at risk. THis is a big deal. Obviously the Russian and foreign calibers like 7.62x54R, Mauser 7mm, etc are at risk. Large amount of western calibers are now imported, too. PMC Bronze? That's made in Korea. Prvi Partizan? Eastern Europe. I've been shooting Prvi 40 SW for awhile because it functions fine and is cheaper. Cutting off this supply of foreign ammo is going to raise prices across the market, significantly. I could see ammo doubling or trebling.
This is ironic as Britain tried to do exactly the same thing, banning imports of arms, ammunition, and powder.
Finally, every 12 and 20 gauge shotgun is by default a destructive device because the bore is over 50 caliber unless it is suited for sporting purposes. Guess who defines "sporting purposes?" Hint: His organization gave thousands of firearms to Mexican Drug Cartels. Obviously Saiga-12s are gone, especially as the CT shooer may have had one in the trunk. However, who is willing to bet that an "AWB Lite" on shotguns is under consideration? Any shotgun with an evil feature like an adjustable stock, pistol grip, etc could be declared a DD tomorrow as it is unsuitable for sporting purposes. Likewise any semiauto shotgun could be declared a DD -- who needs semiauto for skeet or duck hunting?
A LITTLE BIT HARDER: GUN CONTROL BY BUREAUCRACY
Crony capitalism and restrictive contracts could be used very effectively. For example, look at tear gas grenades. They are legal to possess for civilian use in most states. Most companies will not sell them to civilians, though, because of restrictive DoD contracts. There are only a handful of companies making things like "Lake City Brass" and "AR-15 lower receivers." They could be pressured to restrict sales to non .mil/.leo at risk of losing their lucrative government contracts.
Likewise, UPS and FEDEX are currently the only easy to use options to mail handguns. They could be pressured to stop accepting them for shipment. Sure, its legal -- but nothing says that they have to accommodate you.
All sorts of other agencies could screw over gun owners too. For example, rumor on the interwebs is that Dep't of Transportation has already made it a big pain in the neck to ship ammo or loading components to Alaska. Imagine every regulatory screw in every agency being twisted against the firearms industry. DoT nitpicking on every shipment, OSHA inspections in every factory, EPA regulations for every manufacturing process. Regulate the industry into death or compliance. At a minimum, prices will be increased substantially through such meddling.
REACHING FOR THE STARS
The administration could step things up with vindictive and aggressive law enforcement tactics. Google "Richmond Tactics ATF" for an idea of some of the options here. ATF agents stalked gun show attendees, went to their homes, and talked to their families and neighbors about their guns. Intimidating much?
Holders of Curios and Relics licenses can be harassed too. The C&R allows ATF to conduct one check each year in your home or in their office (your choice). Many fools will actually allow ATF agents into their homes. Good luck surviving the inspection. Something can always be found out of order. I am letting my C&R lapse when it expires in the near future to avoid such harassment.
There are many federal firearms laws on the books where enforcement can be stepped up. For example, the Gun Free School Zones Act makes it impossible to navigate any town or city without violating the school zone. You can't drive on the main highway out of Anchorage to the Birchwood range without going by Chugiak High School, for example, and there's no exemption for being on a major road with no intent to step onto school property. You're in the school zone; its a felony unless your firearm is in a locked case or you have a CWP (not required in Alaska, by the way). Imagine a VIPR team with BATFE tag-along setting up checkpoints inside school zones.
And that's just one example! Remember, many of the "little fish" who get nailed for these laws can then be allowed to plead out in exchange for informing on their "co conspirators." For example, nail someone for a school zone violation, then offer them a deal if they can convince their shooting buddy to, say, mess around with a short barreled shotgun or a malfunctioning AR-15.
Getting into tin foil hat territory, I see no reason why the apparatus of the war on terror cannot be unleashed on gun owning "domestic terrorists." There are MANY tools available to law enforcement. Authorizing the president to detain people "that are engaged in hostilities against the United States" indefinitely without due process could bite us in the ass.
Finally, there is nothing to stop the president from issuing orders which are simply not legal. The ATF has been requiring gun registration in several states since the summer of 2011. Their demand letter is not authorized by the Gun Control of 1968. No court has intervened to suspend the ATF demands, however, and in fact, a court just dismissed the NRA's suit. We may eventually win but the demand letter will have been in place for over two years by the time we do. How much damage could be done to the shooting industry and shooters with an illegal EO in place for even a few months?
So really, there are a huge number of ways that the President could choose to harass, incarcerate, and destroy law abiding gun owners via executive orders or executive actions. Elections have consequences, indeed.
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