In the campaign of 2008, then-Senator Obama sharply critiqued George W. Bush for the use of signing statements to shape the implementation of law.  Now, as is usual for this President, he did what he explicitly said should never be done, and used signing statements himself on numerous occasions.  On Wednesday, President Obama took the idea of signing statements to a new level during his issuance of 23 executive actions on gun control, specifically to “[c]larify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.” Interesting.

There are some pretty obvious follow questions to that executive action, like, “Why would my doctor need to ask me about guns in the home?  What medical relevance does it have?” or “Why does the government CARE if my doctor is allowed to ask about guns in the home?  Don’t I have Doctor/Patient Confidentiality?”

Interesting questions, huh? Thankfully, when you look at another of the President’s executive actions, you get a semblance of an answer.

The President ordered his administration to “Release a letter to health-care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law-enforcement authorities.”

Now, does owning a gun imply a threat of violence? Not in my eyes. But I don’t enforce federal law. Does the Obama Administration see gun ownership as a potential threat of violence that trumps doctor/patient confidentiality?

If the answer to this question is no, then the first executive action we talked about today has nearly no meaning. If your doctor has to ask you if you own a gun, but can’t tell anyone because of doctor/patient confidentiality, it has no effect at all. You can call the President many, many things, but ineffective is not one of them.

If the left is truly trying to make doctors reveal the gun-ownership of their patients, this reveals massive hypocrisy on privacy law. One of the left’s most entrenched and defended policies, abortion, is completely reliant on an expansive reading of privacy law. Again, though the executive orders do NOT state that doctors are required to reveal their patients’ gun ownership to the government, the act of declaring that doctors are ‘not prohibited’ from asking has a direct implication that at some point in the future, they will be instructed to ask about gun ownership.

While you can argue the merits of some of the President’s proposals, such as hiring more police officers and cracking down on gun traffickers, the core of his release was a federal focus on gun control to a level we have not seen in America before.

The President proposed a return to the 1994 gun ban, but in the Administration’s own words,

“That ban was an important step, but manufacturers were able to circumvent the prohibition with cosmetic modifications to their weapons. Congress must reinstate and strengthen the prohibition on assault weapons.”

Wait a second. Let me pause to understand this. If you change an assault rifle cosmetically, it became legal under the old law? It’s almost like that old law was based off of fear-mongering and a fundamental misunderstanding of firearms. It’s like the Administration doesn’t know what an “assault rifle” is, because the term itself was manufactured by the anti-gun lobby. Oh wait.

If you can change the paint on a firearm, and it become legal or illegal, the law is not based on reality, but on the Administration’s warped view of reality.

NewStibbsIconThe President also wants to limit magazines to 10 rounds, which, according to the White House, “enable any semi-automatic weapon to be used as an instrument of mass violence”. Has the White House heard of reloading? It’s very quick. I’m a Canadian, and I have very, very little experience handling a firearm, but when I was at a gun range in Texas last year, I reloaded a semi-automatic rifle in under 10 seconds. Truth be told, it was probably closer to 5 seconds. The other magazine was already loaded, so it was as simple as removing the spent magazine and inserting the new one.

Any experienced shooter can reload a gun faster than I can. Some people can reload so fast that you can’t even tell they reloaded.

The actual common-sense solutions that were proposed by the White House are overshadowed by the blind partisan demands. This President has never negotiated in good faith, and any steps to compromise with him will be rejected until absolute surrender. Does that sound familiar to anyone else?

Luke Stibbs | University of the Fraser Valley (BC) | @LukeStibbs