The BATFE can change regulations without going through the legislature, so long as those regulations fit within the enabling legislation. I'm not enough of an expert to say whether there are problems here on that front; John Lott says that he thinks there are. I will say that from all reports I have heard, the LEO signoff procedure being changed here is a pain in the neck and depends a lot on the local police. Trading it for a BATFE procedure may not be all bad, if the new procedure is shall-issue if you meet the background check requirements. But I don't trust the Obama administration to do anything positive on this issue.
Current law places special restrictions on many of the most dangerous weapons, such as machine guns and short-barreled shotguns. These weapons must be registered, and in order to lawfully possess them, a prospective buyer must undergo a fingerprint-based background check.
However, felons, domestic abusers, and others prohibited from having guns can easily evade the required background check and gain access to machine guns or other particularly dangerous weapons by registering the weapon to a trust or corporation. At present, when the weapon is registered to a trust or corporation, no background check is run. ATF reports that last year alone, it received more than 39,000 requests for transfers of these restricted firearms to trusts or corporations.
Today, ATF is issuing a new proposed regulation to close this loophole. The proposed rule requires individuals associated with trusts or corporations that acquire these types of weapons to undergo background checks, just as these individuals would if the weapons were registered to them individually. By closing this loophole, the regulation will ensure that machine guns and other particularly dangerous weapons do not end up in the wrong hands.
Well, all I can say about this particular explanation for Obama's policy is that domestic abusers, felons, and other prohibited persons obtaining NFA weapons by creating legal trusts is not a real, actual problem. Sure, Obama can sell it as increasing the reach of background checks, but if there were actual criminals racing to go through this process to obtain and use legal machine guns and silencers, it would be all over the news.
Since it's NOT all over the news, Obama is doing something that looks like executive action on gun control that is actually not going to have any effect on crime whatsoever.
UPDATE: Turns out that the actual proposed rule would not delete CLEO sign-off, just reduce it a little. That makes it clear that this is not a step forward, as expected under this administration. They propose something that sounds like a compromise and then yank it away in the fine print.
This entry was published Thu Aug 29 10:33:10 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger
and last updated 2013-09-01 17:25:11.0.