It’s taken longer than expected, as the Obama administration and its friends in the gun-control movement have had to work around existing law and find areas where they can impose those additional restrictions without having to go to Congress for approval. As White House spokesman Eric Schultz explained, “It’s complicated. That’s why it’s taken some time for our policy folks, our lawyers and our experts to work through this and see what’s possible." He added. "That is why [the president] has asked his team to scrub existing legal authorities to see if there’s any additional action we can take administratively."
In other words, constitutional restrictions and limitations aren’t to be enforced but are instead to be circumvented in order to advance the president’s unconstitutional gun-control agenda. Put simply, Obama’s oath of office means nothing when it conflicts with that agenda.
According to Politico, the president’s announcement, expected next week, will contain at least two additional infringements: requiring stolen guns to be reported to the ATF, and broadening the definition of who must have a federal license (Federal Firearms License or FFL) to sell firearms.
It’s the second infringement that’s going to cause the most heartburn among law-abiding gun owners. Present law requires all citizens who are “engaged in the business” of selling guns with the “principal objective of livelihood and profit” to pay a fee, complete a rigorous and invasive application that includes a photograph and fingerprints, and undergo background checks in order to do so.
But the president’s lawyers have decided that “engaged in the business” is far too broad, and so Obama will likely announce next week that anyone selling more than 25 guns in a year — or selling a gun in its original packaging, or hoarding more than a certain number of firearms, or selling a gun within 30 days of original purchase — will have to obtain an FFL. After the government has granted its approval, the new licensee would then be required to do a background check on every person he sells a gun to. In addition he’ll be forced to undergo audits from ATF agents dropping in unannounced to check his paperwork.
There are so many problems with this proposed requirement that one scarcely knows where to begin. Aside from it being another infringement of a right guaranteed under the Second Amendment, who would line up, raise their hand, and plead with the ATF for permission to buy and sell firearms?
There are other problems. The ATF would be the agency in charge of doing the administrative work for an estimated 100,000 new gun dealers who would be forced to turn their hobby into a business. As Lawrence Keane, general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), put it,
[Obama’s new expected executive order] will create an administrative problem for the ATF in the sense that their budget does not provide for them to handle some huge increase in the volume of FFLs.
If the ATF now has to manage [another] 100,000 individuals [currently the ATF is tracking about 130,000 FFLs], or whatever the number is, who have to get a license, that’s going to divert resources that the ATF needs to be servicing the industry, and it takes money away from ATF’s ability to do its law enforcement duties.
That, of course isn’t really a problem. All the ATF has to do is plead with Congress for more money for its increased duties, as the IRS did when Congress granted that agency some $200 million in new funds.