After gun-control legislation failed loudly in the wake of the Newtown shooting, the Obama administration set to work, preempting Congressional gridlock with executive actions on dozens of gun-control initiatives. Today we can add two more to the list.
The Justice Department is out with an initiative to clarify who’s prohibited from possessing a firearm under federal law for mental-health-related reasons. Specifically, anyone involuntarily committed to a mental institution, either inpatient or outpatient, should be designated as such, a proposal meant to help states determine who should be barred from having guns.
The other, proposed by the Health and Human Services Department, would allow states to submit “the limited information necessary to help keep guns out of potentially dangerous hands” to the federal background-check system, circumventing exisiting privacy provisions under a law known as HIPPA.
“Too many Americans have been severely injured or lost their lives as a result of gun violence,” the White House said in a statement. “While the vast majority of Americans who experience a mental illness are not violent, in some cases when persons with a mental illness do not receive the treatment they need, the result can be tragedies such as homicide or suicide.”
Other initiatives introduced by the administration in the last year include rules to better prepare local law enforcement and schools, respond to shootings, and keep guns out of the hands of felons.
The White House has noted that executive actions alone can’t take the place of comprehensive legislation, but given the failure of the expanded-background-check bill in April and the renewal of the Undetectable Firearms Act this winter, executive action seems like the best path forward for now.
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"North Korea said on Friday it might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean after President Donald Trump vowed to destroy the reclusive country, with leader Kim Jong Un promising to make Trump pay dearly for his threats. Kim did not specify what action he would take against the United States or Trump, whom he called a 'mentally deranged U.S. dotard' in the latest bout of insults the two leaders have traded in recent weeks."
President Trump this afternoon announced another round of sanctions on North Korea, calling the regime "a continuing threat." The executive order, which Trump relayed to Congress, bans any ship or plane that has visited North Korea from visiting the United States within 180 days. The order also authorizes sanctions on any financial institution doing business with North Korea, and permits the secretaries of State and the Treasury to sanction any person involved in trading with North Korea, operating a port there, or involved in a variety of industries there.
In response to a reporter's question, President Trump said "he’ll be looking to impose further financial penalties on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic tests. ... The U.N. has passed two resolutions recently aimed at squeezing the North Korean economy by cutting off oil, labor and exports to the nation." Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that South Korea's unification ministry is sending an $8m aid package aimed at infants and pregnant women in North Korea. The "humanitarian gesture [is] at odds with calls by Japan and the US for unwavering economic and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang."
President Trump on Tuesday night met with UN Secretary Guterres and President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak. In both cases, as per releases from the White House, Trump pressed them on the need to reform the UN bureaucracy.