What Does Executive Gun Control Mean for Concealed Carry
Believe it or not, the recent executive changes to the regulation of the sale and possession of firearms is nothing new in the Obama Administration. Starting in January 26, 2013, there are over 23 proposed measures which were targeted. According to the Presidential Memorandum released through the White House, we can see that this is not at all a recent development as we’ve been lead to believe. These changes ultimately affect the entirety of the populace and it is completely unknown how these changes will ultimately affect concealed carry applications or permitting. That said, let’s discuss four of the big ways that Executive Gun Control measures may affect the Concealed Carry arena.
The Affordable Care Act Does Not Prohibit Physicians From Asking If Their Patients Have Guns
Physicians don’t need to ask their patients if they have firearms. It’s strange how this has suddenly become a commonly accepted practice. If you’re a concealed carrier, you have absolutely no obligation to answer that question at all unless you feel that somehow your ownership of firearms directly impedes your health or wellbeing.
That being said, the Obama Administration has made it clear that it does not object to this line of questioning and wanted to be absolutely clear from a health insurance perspective that the ACA in no way, shape, or form prohibits physicians from entering into this line of questioning with their patients.
Making Federal Data Available to National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)
When you think of the Federal government, you undoubtedly think of this over-arching, cooperative system of agencies and bureaus who all share information freely and work to stop “bad guys”. This is so far from the truth that it’s frightening. A lot of Federal agencies conduct their own private investigations, keep their own private databases, and actually compartmentalize heavily so that one cannot easily look over the shoulder of the other. Each agency has liaisons that coordinate with the other agencies, bringing over only a home-agency-approved level of information by request.
Some Federal databases are universally shared. Others are not. The Obama Administration is looking to change that so that these databases can be used to target potential “red flags” in a person’s application for a concealed carry permit or firearm purchase.
Let it be said, each agency keeps its own databases for a variety of reasons – not all of them because the person on the database is actively throught to be a threat to himself or others. And when these databases get shared with the NICS, there will be no delineation. This may result in added complications for law-abiding citizens seeking first time or renewal of their concealed carry permits in states which run mandatory background checks against the NICS.
Improve Incentives For States To Give Up Information To The Feds
Color us surprised, but it was always thought to be a “given” that states shared information with the Federal government but apparently that’s not the case. States tend to have their own records, databases, and files that they keep within their own private circles. There are a number of excellent reasons to do this – part of it being compartmentalization. While everyone assumes the Federal government is secure and wouldn’t interfere with state-level investigations, the Federal government has been subject to damaging overarching breaches which have released the data of millions of their own background investigation subjects.
Keeping state-level data at that level actually has a lot of bonuses. Sometimes a state authority is discretely investigating a sensitive matter that they wish to keep at their level – for whatever reason.
When states share their law enforcement data with the Federal government, not only will the Obama Administration ensure there’s some manner of reciprocal reward, they will use that information for processing NICS.
Some states, like Kentucky, are already very transparent in their records with the Federal government. Other states – perhaps not so much.
What this comes down to is the databases that are accessed by the NICS will have additional “red flag” potential for those looking to purchase firearms or even apply for a concealed carry permit.
Mental Health Initiatives – A New Way To Identify “Threats”
Beneath the veil of measures designed to streamline mental care services is a truer metric: a way to potentially disqualify future concealed carriers. No doubt, mental health initiatives will be needed to help bring people who should honestly not own guns into the care they need. However, there’s currently no way “back” from receiving mental health services. For instance, if you undergo psychiatric evaluation, that is something that can and will affect your application and renewal process for concealed carry. It will also affect your ability to purchase a new firearm.
The biggest problem with unilateral action – whether it is executive or legislative – is the distinct lack of “rewinds”. Once something goes into action, whether a law or an executive order, there is a huge uphill battle to improve upon it or remove it altogether. That’s why we, as concealed carriers, need to be especially vigilant in our civic responsibility to ensure that the laws that do go into effect are beneficial to law-abiding gun owners.
James England is a former United States Marine Signals Intelligence Operator and defense contractor with over two tours spread over the Al Anbar province and two more operating across Helmand and Baghdis. He is presently a writer focused on Western foreign policy and maintains an avid interest in firearms. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, he presently resides in New Hampshire – the “Live Free or Die” state. He is finishing up his first novel, “American Hubris”, which is set to hit shelves in Fall of 2015.