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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With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:
- An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clinton leading Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary Johnson at 7%.
- A McClatchy-Marist poll gave Clinton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way ballot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
- Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."
Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."