For all the Oscar-winning acting President Obama and his troupe of anti-gunners have displayed —it makes for compelling TV—there’s a real danger beyond his shouts of “conspiracy!”
Obama said conspiracy is “in our DNA,” here, and here; note the shock on Anderson Cooper’s face, “conspiracy?” But the president is openly transparent about his goals: to make America like Europe or Australia, e.g. having a gun-free citizenry. That pesky Second Amendment keeps getting in his way, so he’s finding back doors.
And this one is more of a threat than we think—if not immediately, it will be in the next year, and will be a conundrum for the next president.
Legal expert Josh Blackman laid it out in National Review. To pass an instant NICS background check, you have to comply with Federal and state laws about criminal eligibility, and also mental capacity. The criminal part is fairly simple: the states report arrests, charges and convictions to the database.
But it’s a different story with mental issues:
Presently, the “mental defective file” is fairly small — almost exclusively financially unstable vets — because only the federal government could add names to the list. Before Tuesday, states were prohibited from reporting individuals because of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). A 2012 Government Accountability Office report found that “the absence of explicit State-level statutory authority to share mental health records was an impediment to making such records available to NICS.” However, with President Obama’s new executive action, these “unnecessary legal barriers” have been removed.
Brian Sikma noted that removing this “barrier” throws your health privacy rights in the trash. But it’s a bigger problem than that. Blackman continued:
Along with the president’s press conference Tuesday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch sent letters to 50 governors “permitting” them to report the names and information of such individuals from their states to the federal government. The NICS database can be expanded by leaps and bounds, through the actions of cooperative states, without the need for any congressional action.
This means if you’ve ever had mental treatment in New York, even if you live in Georgia or Texas, the Empire state can pass a law compelling your doctor in New York to report you to the state, which will in turn add you to the NICS hit list. All without your knowledge, or your consent.
Getting yourself removed from what amounts to a lifetime ban on gun purchases will be akin to having your criminal record expunged or your identity-theft-marred credit report repaired. It will be a long, painful, and likely expensive endeavor with no legal due process.
This will be a sticky wicket for a future president, be it Trump, Cruz, or any Republican. Yes, the executive action can be rescinded, and the privacy rights restored. But removing the faux mental records from the NICS while preserving the real ones will be a headache, and in the meantime, liberal states like California, New York and Massachusetts can make hay, banning thousands who don’t even live there from gun purchases.
That’s their goal: to ban you, any way they can.