White House Proposals

The rumors and news coming out of the White House with regard to gun control all included a proposal to raise the legal age to purchase a rifle or shotgun to age 21. Even Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah was saying on one of the Sunday morning news roundtables. As things stand now, that proposal has been shelved. I don’t know about you but I wrote both senators and my US representative yesterday strongly objecting to raising the age.

Given the White House has briefed the press but has not released a definitive public statement here is where things stand now:

  • Federal Commission on School Safety headed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will study age restrictions and other restrictions, They will issue a report later.
  • Improvements to the FBI’s tip line.
  • Support for FixNICS Act.
  • Support of the STOP School Violence Act which would allocate $50 million annually for school safety improvements including violence prevention training for teachers.
  • Assist states in training teachers and other school staff in firearms use.
  • Allow military vets and retired LEOs to work as school safety officers.
  • Call on states to allow police, with court approval, to remove firearms from people who are a threat to themselves or others. It would also “temporarily” remove their ability to purchase firearms.
  • Ban bump fire stocks (which was previously mentioned).
  • Improve mental health systems to identify and treat treats. This would include “increased integration of mental health, primary health care and family services.”
If I were to make a prediction now, it is that FixNICS is going through no matter what. The other is that gun violence (sic) protection orders (by whatever name) will become a hot topic in some states notwithstanding their threat to civil rights.
The one thing to bear in mind right now is that no politician is your friend. It doesn’t matter the party nor their past support for gun rights. They will throw gun rights and gun rights supporters under the bus if they think it could impact their chances of reelection. One merely need look at Florida where many supposed gun rights supporting legislators threw gun rights under the bus in their haste to pass SB 7026.

UPDATE: Here is what the White House sent out with their “1600 Daily” email a few minutes ago:

How to secure our schools

After the horrific shooting at a
Parkland, Florida, high school last month,
President Donald J. Trump met with students,
teachers, lawmakers, and local officials to hear
every idea they had about how to keep violence
out of America’s schools.
Every child
in our Nation has a right to feel safe. To
achieve that goal, the President will announce a
series of actions to protect our children and
their communities:

  • Hardening our
    schools
    : The Administration will make
    sure our schools are safe and secure—just like
    our airports, stadiums, and government
    buildings—with better training and
    preparedness.
  • Strengthening
    background checks and prevention
    :
    President Trump is supporting legislation and
    reforms to strengthen the background checks
    system and law enforcement operations.
  • Reforming mental health
    programs
    : The President is proposing
    an expansion and reform of mental health
    programs, including those that help identify
    and treat individuals who may be a threat to
    themselves or others.
  • Keeping the conversation
    going
    : In addition to these immediate
    actions, President Trump is establishing a
    Federal Commission on School Safety, chaired
    by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, to
    recommend policy and funding proposals for
    school violence prevention.

White House – Target Shooting Is OK But Self-Defense Is Not

HR 3590 – the Sportsmen’s Heritage And Recreational Enhancement Act of 2013passed the House of Representatives yesterday on a vote of 268 in favor with 154 opposed. The bill passed in a somewhat bipartisan manner with 41 Democrats and 227 Republican voting in favor of the bill.

The bill, if acted upon and passed by the Senate, does a number of things including setting aside Pittman-Robertson monies for range construction, removes the authority of the EPA to regulate lead for ammunition and fishing tackle, and allows electronic duck stamps. The bill would also prevent the Army Corps of Engineers from banning firearm possession on Corps recreational and water resource development projects. The US District Court for the District of Idaho issued a preliminary injunction preventing the US Army Corps of Engineers from doing just that in the case of Morris et al v. Army Corps of Engineers.

A summary of Title VI states:

Title VI: Access to Water Resources Development Projects Act – Recreational Lands Self-Defense Act of 2013Prohibits
the Secretary of the Army from promulgating or enforcing any regulation
that prohibits an individual from possessing a firearm at a water
resources development project administered by the Chief of Engineers if:
(1) the individual is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing
the firearm, and (2) the possession of the firearm is in compliance with
the law of the state in which the project is located.

On Monday, the White House issued a statement on the SHARE Act stating what they supported, what they opposed, and what they didn’t care about one way or another. The White House said it supported the use of Pittman-Robertson monies for range development (Title II), it supported allowing the importation of a handful of legally killed polar bear trophies from Canada which have been stuck in limbo (Title IV), and it supported the electronic sales of duck stamps (Title V).

The White House said that it didn’t oppose Title I which, in its words, “excludes certain sport fishing equipment from the classification of toxic substances.” They ignored mention of that part of the bill that would amend the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 to “exclude from the definition of “chemical substance” for purposes of such
Act: (1) any component of any pistol, revolver, firearm, shell, or
cartridge the sale of which is subject to federal excise tax, including
shot, bullets and other projectiles, propellants, and primers”.  I guess I should be thankful that they didn’t oppose it.

Among the things the White House opposed was Title VI. They said:

The Administration also opposes Title VI, which prohibits the Secretary of the Army from enforcing any regulations that would prohibit the possession of firearms at water resources development projects with limited exceptions.

In other words, they are opposed to the right of visitors to any Corps-administered lands to be able to be armed for the purposes of self-defense. A tent or camper has been found to be a temporary residence many times
by the courts and, as such, is the place which the Supreme Court found
in the Heller case that the need for self-defense is “most acute”.  Thus, while the Obama Administration is somewhat OK with gun owners and hunters doing target shooting at some backwoods, out-of-the-way location, they don’t believe you have the right to self-defense while in a tent or camper in a campground on Corps-administered lands.

Go figure.

No Shame

I realize that the concept of shame is an old-fashioned one and that it seems out of place in the post-modern world. Thus, the attempt by the White House to shame the Congress into passing gun control comes across as both quaint and manipulative.

The latest instance is using the mother of one of the children murdered in Newtown to deliver President Obama’s weekly radio and Internet address. It has been released as a YouTube video and MP3 file in addition to the transcript below.

Remarks of Francine Wheeler
The President’s Weekly Address

Hi. As you’ve probably noticed, I’m not the President. I’m just a citizen. And as a citizen, I’m here at the White House today because I want to make a difference and I hope you will join me.

My name is Francine Wheeler. My husband David is with me. We live in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.

David and I have two sons. Our older son Nate, soon to be 10 years old, is a fourth grader at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Our younger son, Ben, age six, was murdered in his first-grade classroom on December 14th, exactly 4 months ago this weekend.

David and I lost our beloved son, but Nate lost his best friend. On what turned out to be the last morning of his life, Ben told me, quite out of the blue, “ I still want to be an architect, Mama, but I also want to be a paleontologist, because that’s what Nate is going to be and I want to do everything Nate does.”

Ben’s love of fun and his excitement at the wonders of life were unmatched His boundless energy kept him running across the soccer field long after the game was over. He couldn’t wait to get to school every morning. He sang with perfect pitch and had just played at his third piano recital. Irrepressibly bright and spirited, Ben experienced life at full tilt.

Until that morning. 20 of our children, and 6 of our educators – gone. Out of the blue.

I’ve heard people say that the tidal wave of anguish our country felt on 12/14 has receded. But not for us. To us, it feels as if it happened just yesterday. And in the four months since we lost our loved ones, thousands of other Americans have died at the end of a gun. Thousands of other families across the United States are also drowning in our grief.

Please help us do something before our tragedy becomes your tragedy.

Sometimes, I close my eyes and all I can remember is that awful day waiting at the Sandy Hook Volunteer Firehouse for the boy who would never come home – the same firehouse that was home to Ben’s Tiger Scout Den 6. But other times, I feel Ben’s presence filling me with courage for what I have to do – for him and all the others taken from us so violently and too soon.

We have to convince the Senate to come together and pass commonsense gun responsibility reforms that will make our communities safer and prevent more tragedies like the one we never thought would happen to us.

When I packed for Washington on Monday, it looked like the Senate might not act at all. Then, after the President spoke in Hartford, and a dozen of us met with Senators to share our stories, more than two-thirds of the Senate voted to move forward.

But that’s only the start. They haven’t yet passed any bills that will help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. And a lot of people are fighting to make sure they never do.

Now is the time to act. Please join us. You can talk to your Senator, too. Or visit WhiteHouse.gov to find out how you can join the President and get involved.

Help this be the moment when real change begins. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

While I feel sorrow for the family, their grief at losing their son is not a reason to pass measures that are at once both ineffective in stopping another Newtown shooting and an infringement on the Second Amendment guarantees. If the White House and their fellow gun prohibitionists were really serious about trying to avert another Newtown, they would be looking at mental health issue and school security measures such as arming and training teachers.

To get a better perspective on grief and its misuse here, read Michael Bane’s post entitled “Riverdance in Blood”. I recommended it earlier this week and I’m doing it again. As he notes, the grief of the victims drives them to demand a solution to insoluble problems which is the case with Mrs. Wheeler above.

Tough Tiddlywinks, Mr. President

After the Senate Republicans successfully filibustered Caitlin Halligan’s nomination for the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, you knew that Obama would release some self-serving accusing the Republicans of obstruction. Unlike in many other things the White House did not disappoint us here. Their statement is below:


Statement by the President on Republican Filibuster of Caitlin Halligan

I am deeply disappointed that despite support from a majority of the United States Senate, a minority of Senators continues to block the nomination of Caitlin Halligan to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Nearly two and a half years after being nominated, Ms. Halligan continues to wait for a simple up-or-down vote. In the past, filibusters of judicial nominations required “extraordinary circumstances,” and a Republican Senator who was part of this agreement articulated that only an ethics or qualification issue – not ideology – would qualify. Ms. Halligan has always practiced law with the highest ethical ideals, and her qualifications are beyond question. Furthermore, her career in public service and as a law enforcement lawyer, serving the citizens of New York, is well within the mainstream.

Today’s vote continues the Republican pattern of obstruction. My judicial nominees wait more than three times as long on the Senate floor to receive a vote than my predecessor’s nominees. The effects of this obstruction take the heaviest toll on the D.C. Circuit, considered the Nation’s second-highest court, which now has only seven active judges and four vacancies. Until last month, for more than forty years, the court has always had at least eight active judges and as many as twelve. A majority of the Senate agrees that Ms. Halligan is exactly the kind of person who should serve on this court, and I urge Senate Republicans to allow the Senate to express its will and to confirm Ms. Halligan without further delay.

Liberal and progressive also had to jump in and express their displeasure according to BLT: The Blog of the Legal Times. Of course these are the same groups that pushed for filibusters of Republican court nominees when the Republicans held the Senate majority.

Washington’s progressive court-watching groups decried the block of what they call a highly qualified nominee for a 11-member court that has four vacancies. Alliance For Justice President Nan Aron said in a statement “urging Republican senators to rise above partisanship is like urging three-pack-a-day smokers to ‘just say no’ to tobacco.”


“The vote today also makes clear that the recent agreement to ‘reform’ Senate rules really was no agreement at all, but rather a blank check for continued obstruction,” Aron said. “We believe the Senate majority needs to reconsider the terms of this agreement, and revisit serious rules reform.”


The People For the American Way (sic) said it was a political strategy to keep Republican-appointed judges dominating the court.


“Let’s call the filibuster of Halligan what it is: a politically motivated attempt to keep President Obama’s nominee off the second highest court in the country,” PFAW Vice President Marge Baker. “The court continues to be dominated by far-right Republican-appointed judges who have pushed an extreme right-wing agenda on issues including environmental protection, workers’ rights and public health. This is not a coincidence.”

What a bunch of whiners. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Obama do a recess appointment of Halligan sometime in the future.

Go Darrell!

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) is questioning the amount of money that the White House spends on certain events such as state dinners for leaders from Mexico and India. To illustrate what he considers excessive spending, Issa has released the following video.

I say, “Go Darrell!” If Obama wants to pontificate about being responsible and being frugal, he needs to be called out on it.

Is the timing somewhat political? Probably but I can live with that.

That Other O’Reilly

Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) want to hear what O’Reilly has to say. Not Bill O’Reilly who has the show called The O’Reilly Factor but White House staffer Kevin O’Reilly. This was the person with whom Bill Newell, former SAC of the ATF’s Phoenix Field Division, had back channel communications regarding Operation Fast and Furious. Conveniently enough, Kevin O’Reilly moved to the State Department and is now in Iraq on assignment.

Yesterday Rep. Issa and Sen. Grassley sent a letter to Kathryn Ruemmler, Counsel to the President, requesting that Mr. O’Reilly be allowed to testify. They note that Mr. O’Reilly’s personal attorney is willing to let him testify if it is allowed by the White House. Moreover, in a break from normal procedures, they are willing to let him testify by phone from Iraq.

What they want Mr. O’Reilly to testify about is the nature of the back channel communications between himself and Bill Newell.

To this day, Newell has failed to disown Fast and Furious or admit the flawed nature of the program. This failure has raised new questions. Was Newell looking for authorization outside of his chain-of-command in order to continue this deadly program? What did O’Reilly know about the objectives and tactics used in Fast and Furious and with whom did he share his knowledge? These answers are gemane to the Committee’s investigation. O’Reilly is the only person capable of supply accurate answers to them.

Of course, as Dave Workman points out, the White House is denying that they knew anything about gun walking. Eric Schultz, the Associate Communications Director, had this to say to FoxNews:

“White House Counsel is reviewing the letter and will respond as appropriate. But broadly speaking, while some personnel in the White House were made aware of ATF’s efforts to combat gun trafficking along the southwest border, including Operation Fast and Furious, there has been no evidence to suggest that anyone at the White House knew about any decision to allow guns to ‘walk’ to Mexico.”

Schultz is the White House staffer or, as I would call him, the punk, who thought his position gave him the right to berate and curse CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson over her coverage of Project Gunwalker. We have come to find out this is standard operating procedure in the Obama White House when they are seeking to kill a story.

Sen. Grassley was interviewed by Jon Scott of FoxNews about his letter and his efforts to get testimony from Mr. O’Reilly. Sen. Grassley says that they have one side of the story from ATF SAC Bill Newell and they need the other side of the story from Kevin O’Reilly. He also said that they were being stonewalled by the White House and that this continual stonewalling leads one to look guilty of something. He has a point there – if the White House has nothing to hide then they should make Kevin O’Reilly available for telephonic testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. I’m guessing it isn’t going to happen.

Bill O’Reilly Interview With Sharyl Attkisson

Watch the latest video at <a href=”http://video.foxnews.com”>video.foxnews.com</a>

To get a broader context of Eric Schultz’s rude, crude, and unacceptable behavior towards Ms. Attkisson, I think it is important to read the assessment of it by Keith Koffler in the White House Dossier blog. I mentioned this earlier today as it seems such behavior is not only common from the White House but is a practiced tactic used to bully reporters.

Twitter Has Its Uses

With the White House all atwitter over Twitter yesterday, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa took advantage of it. According to The Hill, Issa used Twitter to deliver a letter to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

The tweet was a response to a question about the letter asked in the White House press briefing on Tuesday.

Carney told reporters at Tuesday’s briefing that he had not seen the letter. “I’m not aware of it,” he said.

The letter addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder is signed by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the chairman of the committee, and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). It details their concerns following the testimony of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) acting director Kenneth Melson regarding the ATF operation “Fast and Furious.”

A picture of the tweet in question is below.

It is nice for once to see a Congressman using Twitter for something other than Tweeting pictures of his privates!

Traver’s Nomination Sent To The Senate By White House

This was announced yesterday on the White House’s website:

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 17, 2010 Presidential Nominations and Withdrawal Sent to the Senate, 11/17/10
NOMINATIONS SENT TO THE SENATE:

Daniel L. Shields III, of Pennsylvania, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Brunei Darussalam.

Joseph M. Torsella, of Pennsylvania, to be Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations for U.N. Management and Reform, with the rank of Ambassador.

Joseph M. Torsella, of Pennsylvania, to be Alternate Representative of the United States of America to the Sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations, during his tenure of service as Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations for U.N. Management and Reform.

Andrew L. Traver, of Illinois, to be Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. (New Position)

WITHDRAWAL SENT TO THE SENATE:

Marsha Ternus, of Iowa, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the State Justice Institute for a term expiring September 17, 2012, vice Robert A. Miller, term expired, which was sent to the Senate on September 13, 2010.

It’s official now. Time to start writing both of your state’s Senators even if they are anti-gun sorts. No letters, faxes, or emails let them say they didn’t hear any opposition to Andrew Traver as the head of ATF.