Frustrated with his inability to move his gun control agenda through Congress, President Obama has given a green light to Justice Department plans to impose more than a dozen new and amended gun-related regulations to the Federal Register before the end of the president’s second term.
The regulations cover acts the president can undertake that stretches his existing authority to the extreme including rules to further restrict high-powered pistols and gun storage requirements to the redefinition words and terms related to the mental health condition of gun buyers.
Individuals dealing with financial problems, who seek marital counselling, who consult a psychologist or psychiatrist to treat stress, anxiety, insomnia or other common mental health condition could be added to the National Criminal Background Check database as a prohibited person.
Gun control groups have been calling for stricter interpretations of language in existing law following the Sandy Hook school shooting three years ago in Newtown, Connecticut arguing that keeping guns away from the mentally ill is most important.
The gun lobby led by the National Rifle Association says those adjudicated as mentally ill are already on the list of prohibited persons and that the changing the meaning of words in existing law would result in a sweeping ban of prospective gun owners who are not a danger to society.
One class of citizens who would be hit particularly hard by tighter interpretation of existing law is veterans – especially those who fought in recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. A diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder would easily land a veteran on the list. As such, veterans who need of counseling will avoid it to keep their gun rights.
“It’s clear President Obama is beginning his final assault on our Second Amendment rights by forcing his anti-gun agenda on honest law-abiding citizens through executive force,” said Luke O’Dell, vice president of political affairs at the National Association for Gun Rights.
The Justice Department plans to issue new rules expanding criteria for people who do not qualify for gun ownership according to the recently released Unified Agenda – a list of proposed rules that the Justice Department has in the pipeline along with an estimate of the time when the new rules will take effect.