by Alex Newman
When Obama vowed to use his “pen and phone” to circumvent Congress and impose his will on America, he was actually telling the truth for once. In the latest example of lawless decrees coming from the executive branch, the Obama administration is taking aim at gunsmiths and free speech. Basically, if a recent “regulation” disguised as “guidance” is not stopped, gunsmithing — an American tradition stretching back centuries that was crucial in the War for Independence — will be effectively made illegal, experts say.
Another controversial element of the decree would purport to unconstitutionally criminalize many forms of gun-related speech on the Internet. If not withdrawn, the illegal Obama decree would purport to shred the rights protected by the Constitution’s First and Second Amendments by making it illegal to post any “how-to” information about guns online. It would also effectively make all gun-related information on the Internet a crime because it could be accessed by foreigners.
However, as has happened with virtually all of Obama’s power grabs, opposition to the newest illegal edict is surging — this time among Second Amendment activists, gun owners, industry, and proponents of constitutional government. Grassroots organizations have called on the Obama administration to immediately withdraw the “unconstitutional power grab.” If it refuses, critics of the scheme said they would work with Congress to defund it.
The controversial decree came just weeks after the United Nations once again demanded that the U.S. government impose “robust gun control” on Americans. As part of an accelerating trend, the dictator-dominated UN increasingly exploits every possible incident to push unconstitutional attacks on gun rights under the guise of protecting what it misleadingly refers to as “human rights.”
The latest anti-gun Obama regulation also appears to be in line with the illegal UN Arms Trade Treaty. The radical treaty, which has not been ratified by the U.S. Senate despite the administration’s pleas, seeks to ultimately create a monopoly on firearms in the hands of government, dictators, and international organizations such as the UN itself — institutions that have killed hundreds of millions of people just in the last century alone.
The new decree, released on July 22 with little media fanfare and without even following the standard procedures for imposing new regulations, came from the increasingly radical John Kerry-controlled State Department. Specifically, the regulation was issued by the “Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC),” a rogue bureaucracy supposedly charged with enforcing the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).
Incredibly, under the new rules, gunsmiths — even people who simply thread a barrel or make a small part for an older firearm, according to experts — will be classified as a weapons “manufacturer” subject to regulation as an exporter of military material. (Apparently the Obama administration’s Fast and Furious efforts to arm Mexican drug cartels are exempt.) That new classification will subject the small-time gunsmiths to onerous federal regulation, in addition to requiring them to register with Kerry’s DDTC and pay thousands of dollars in “fees” for the privilege.
Anyone who does not obey the new decree would be subject to extreme criminal penalties, said analysts who investigated the new regulation. Even minor violations of the complex regulatory maze — designed to prevent the export of advanced military weaponry and technology to terror groups and dictators — could result in criminal prosecution. Countless small gunsmiths will be put out of business, experts said.
The illegal State Department edict purporting to reinterpret legislation passed by Congress makes a number of previously legal activities illegal without federal registration, regulation, and permission. Among other things, the rule bans any “machining, cutting, or drilling” on a firearm, or the use of any equipment on it without complying with the maze of licensing, regulation, and more applied to exporters of military equipment.
The scheme also bans reloading, except possibly on a round-by-round basis, according to analysts. It also prohibits the production of any firearm part whatsoever without the newly required federal licenses. Even assembling firearms kits could be illegal if done more than on an “occasional” basis, with the term occasional not even being defined in the new “guidance.”
A similarly illegal decree issued by Obama’s ATF also uses vague, undefined language to threaten anyone who dares to privately sell a firearm with potential criminal prosecution — despite the fact that private sales are specifically exempt under the (already unconstitutional) laws passed by Congress. Separately, other Obama decrees are being used to disarm veterans and millions of elderly Americans receiving Social Security. And with Congress continuing to enable Obama, more illegal attacks on gun rights are expected before he leaves office.
In addition to the full-blown attack on gunsmiths, Obama is also targeting gun-related speech. Under the guise of prohibiting anyone from “assisting a foreign person in the design, development, and repair of a firearm,” the Obama administration’s “guidance” apparently criminalizes the posting of any how-to information about guns on the Internet.
So if you answer a question on an Internet forum about how to fix some gun problem, or make a Youtube video on how to fix a gun, you could end up facing federal felony charges. “This is unconstitutional under both the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution,” explained Gun Owners of America, the nation’s fiercest, most uncompromising defender of Americans’ gun rights.
“If the State Department hated ISIS as much as it hates the Second Amendment, perhaps American foreign policy would be in better shape,” the group also said in comments about the illegal Obama decrees. “It’s not surprising that two Leftist politicians, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, have produced a bureaucracy which is as consumed by political correctness as it is incapable of performing its core functions. No one is fooled by the fraudulent representations of this administration. And no one is puzzled by why the administration illegally circumvented the regulatory process in order to issue this diktat.”
As such, GOA is demanding that the Obama-Clinton-Kerry State Department immediately withdraw the schemes. “Alternatively, we will ask legislative appropriators in Congress to withdraw it,” the group said.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) is also fighting back. “DDTC’s move appears aimed at expanding the regulatory sweep of the AECA/ITAR and culling many smaller commercial gunsmithing operations that do not have the means to pay the annual registration fee or the sophistication to negotiate DDTC’s confusing maze of bureaucracy,” the group’s legislative analysts said, comparing the new regulations to the ATF’s lawless and confusing attempt to intimidate private sellers with threats of arbitrary prosecution.
“The administration’s latest move serves as a timely reminder of how the politicized and arrogant abuse of executive power can be used to suppress Second Amendment rights and curtail lawful firearm-related commerce,” the NRA-ILA concluded. “That lesson should not be forgotten when voters go to the polls this November.”
Unfortunately, it will take either Congress, the courts, the new president, or some combination of those branches of government a great deal of time to undo all of the lawlessness imposed on America by Obama and his GOP enablers. However, the Republican leadership in Congress could very easily nip all of the anti-gun rights extremism in the bud by refusing to appropriate a single penny for its implementation. That way, no matter who becomes president, and no matter what the increasingly rogue federal courts say, the illegal orders issued by Obama and Kerry will be rendered harmless and meaningless.
The fact that Congress even has to consider retroactively defunding the executive branch’s illegal extremism, though, shows how far America has fallen from its roots in lawful, constitutional, self-government and the protection of God-given rights. The whole process is backwards. Long term, the only way to keep such extremism and tyranny at bay is to create an informed electorate that understands the Constitution, as well as the moral, philosophical, and religious foundations upon which America was founded.
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About the author: Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU. He can be reached at email@example.com