Opinion
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16: U.S. President Barack Obama (R), is flanked by Vice President Joe Biden (L) before signing an executive order designed to tackle gun control, on January 16, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16: U.S. President Barack Obama (R), is flanked by Vice President Joe Biden (L) before signing an executive order designed to tackle gun control, on January 16, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)  

President Obama’s gun orders aren’t so benign

Photo of Maureen Martin
Maureen Martin
Senior Fellow for Legal Affairs, The Heartland Institute

Most pundits agree that the 23 gun-related executive orders issued by President Barack Obama two weeks ago are tame and unobjectionable.

Not so fast.

The measures the president is proposing would vastly and arbitrarily expand the number of people who can be denied their constitutional right to own a gun.

Let’s look at the facts.

Right now, the Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits legal handgun ownership by an individual who:

● Has been convicted of or charged with a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year.

● Has been convicted of a state misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for more than two years.

● Is the subject of a warrant for a felony or misdemeanor.

● Has been convicted for use or possession of a controlled substance or who has multiple arrests for these charges or who has been found through a recent drug test to be using them.

● Has been adjudicated as mentally defective or been involuntarily committed to a mental institution or found incompetent to handle his own affairs.

● Is an illegal alien.

● Has been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces.

● Has renounced his U.S. citizenship.

● Is the subject of a protective order restraining him from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner.

● Has been convicted of a misdemeanor involving the use or attempted use of force against a spouse or parent.

The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 established a database maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation recording all this information, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICB).