The Constitution only allows Congress to make law. "Executive orders" are constitutionally limited to implementation of Congressional enacted law. Any president who tries to make fresh law without Congress is outlaw and must be removed, by force if necessary.
President Barack Obama announced Jan. 3 his waiving of privacy requirements of the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act to allow states to turn over Americans' mental health files to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
"In April 2013, HHS began to identify the scope and extent of the problem, and based on public comments is now issuing a proposed rule to eliminate this barrier by giving certain HIPAA covered entities an express permission to submit to the background check system the limited information necessary to help keep guns out of potentially dangerous hands," according to a White House statement.
The HIPPA law has strict protections for patient privacy, and in many cases requires an individual's written permission before his medical or medical billing information can be released.
Exceptions to HIPPA privacy must be related to the investigation of a crime, a missing person or to prevent and or stop the abuse of a child.
Once again, Obama has changed a law with the stroke of his pen–without the slightest effort to make his case to the American people or their representatives in Congress.
The second executive action was the clarification of what it means to be committed.
"For example, DOJ is proposing to clarify that the statutory term 'committed to a mental institution' includes involuntary inpatient as well as outpatient commitments. In addition to providing general guidance on federal law, these clarifications will help states determine what information should be made accessible to the federal background check system, which will, in turn, strengthen the system's reliability and effectiveness," the White House statement said.
We already know that veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, who went for counseling, had their gun rights taken away by bureaucrats–with no avenue or process for appeal.
Why would we expand a program for removing a constitutional right to those who did not serve in uniform? Yes, it is bonkers, but it is also what passes for normal under this regime.
Gun rights are not the same as driving a car or getting your pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less. They are rights that pre-date the Constitution, which enshrines them. If you want to change gun rights, you should have to amend the Constitution.
Many in the gun rights community have accepted background checks as a good thing and applaud the president's work to make them more complete. I do not. I reject the very idea of a background check.
It is absurd to me that some terrorist or gang-banger is going to fill out a form his local gun store before buying his gun.
Heck, it is absurd that an American has to fill out a form to see if he is entitled to a constitutional right in the first place.
In 2014, look for the mental illness card to be played by Obama and his fellow travelers in the gun rights movement looking for common ground.
- Neil W. McCabe