January 14, 2016 at 2:25 pm EST | by guest columnist
Obama goes mad on guns

guns, gay news, Washington BladeBy REV. GUS KLEIN

On Jan. 5, President Obama announced he was taking executive action to increase the safety of Americans by regulating guns. His actions don’t reflect reality nor will they keep us any safer. All Americans should be afraid of the implications of where the president and the Democrats will go to shred the Second Amendment and our right to medical privacy.

Americans are rightly grieved by the actions of madmen and terrorists who caused the slaughter of innocent children at the Sandy Hook School and the shootings in San Bernardino, Calif. If you watch 24-hour news channels all day you might think the dead were piling up in our streets. I would suggest that the president’s actions are designed to tap into the emotional fear created by this environment and encroach on the rights of law-abiding Americans to own and carry firearms and shred our medical privacy rights.

Statistics constantly suggest that violent crime is at a 36-year low. Gun deaths have declined by 31 percent since 1993 (Pew Research, 2015). You are more likely to die from cancer, lung problems, heart attack or car crash than a gun assault (National Safety Council, 2011).

While crime and violence are at historic lows (with the exception of some metropolitan areas) the 24-hour media circus would have you believe that people are being shot, hanged, knifed, assaulted, murdered and raped on every street corner all the time. Statistics reveal that is a misperception, not a reality. It is this media-led misperception that President Obama and those opposed to gun ownership are seeking to capitalize on.

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is clear that law-abiding Americans by right are allowed to keep and bear arms: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2008 in District of Columbia et. al. v. Heller and later in McDonald v. Chicago (2010) that gun ownership is an individual right unconnected with a militia and that this individual right is applicable in all states and cities.

Despite violent crime at historic lows and the individual right to own guns well established, President Obama has announced dangerous executive actions that fly in the face of liberty, practicality and reality.

His proposals include background checks on private sales of guns between individuals, expanding the list of persons prohibited from purchasing guns to include those on the Terrorist No Fly List and hiring new government agents to investigate gun transactions.

The most dangerous proposal would include putting your medical and mental health records in a database from which information could then be used to end your right to own a gun.

According to the New York Daily News, “Attorney General Loretta Lynch has also sent a letter to states highlighting the importance of receiving complete criminal history records and criminal dispositions of persons disqualified from buying firearms because of a mental illness.”

It would seem rational that we would want to prevent lunatics from owning guns. But how do we define mental illness? Anyone who takes Xanax? Anyone who has sought therapy in the last five years? Think of this: your therapist, doctor or lawyer may one day be forced to “mandatory report” you to the government if you actually seek help for a mental health challenge.

Americans have long enjoyed the privacy of our medical records enshrined in the Health Insurance Privacy and Portability Act. The possible implications of President Obama’s executive gun play could lead to our protected health information being breached, in violation of HIPAA, to decide who should have guns, drive a car, be teacher, or an airline pilot. Imagine that your visit to a drug rehab or trip to your counselor now being the basis upon which your rights, privileges and future employment are denied.

The president wants those on the Terrorist No-Fly List to also be barred from purchasing firearms. The problem is that this is the same Terrorist No-Fly List that stopped then-Sen. Kennedy from flying (August 2004).

President Obama wants to broaden background check requirements to include more private transactions. It’s impractical – some estimates hold that there are more than 300 million guns in America. If I give a gun to my father for his birthday do I have to do a background check on him?

The president is dead wrong on this issue. His executive action may be unconstitutional and none of the actions can prevent bad people from doing bad things. Nothing in the president’s plan will stop another Sandy Hook or terrorist attack on our shores.

 

Rev. Gus Klein is a retired MCC pastor and civil rights activist living in Fort Lauderdale. He is also a member of the Log Cabin Republicans of Miami-Dade County.

12 Comments
  • Wow, where to start debunking another misguided diatribe from a Miami Log Cabiner. Thank goodness it won’t be difficult….

    “While crime and violence are at historic lows (with the exception of some metropolitan areas) the 24-hour media circus would have you believe that people are being shot, hanged, knifed, assaulted, murdered and raped on every street corner all the time.”

    How does someone who carries the title of “Reverend”, and purports themselves to be a “civil rights activist” so nonchalantly dismiss the carnage and death resulting from gun violence in metropolitan areas? So in your view Mr. Klein, are these nothing more than collateral damage; acceptable losses in defense of second amendment rights? So gun rights “uber alles?”

    “The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is clear that law-abiding Americans by right are allowed to keep and bear arms.”

    Not really. The crux of your argument is that nothing can impede the right of “the people to bear arms” but you yourself curiously qualify that by suggesting that it only applies to “law-abiding” Americans. Exactly where does that exclusion exist in the constitution that you shove in our faces as sacrosanct? It simply says the “right of the people.” So not so clear. Plus didn’t they actually mean white people who happened to be male? No offense, they wrote this while eyeing their musket over the mantle, not envisioning high capacity semi automatic weapons. As they poured molten lead into a form were visions of hollow point bullets dancing in their heads?

    “The most dangerous proposal would include putting your medical and mental health records in a database from which information could then be used to end your right to own a gun.”

    Your concern for the privacy rights of those with mental illness is admirable, but I am guessing you really don’t give a damn about their well-being. It’s just a convenient obstacle. So Reverend is that how you would offer comfort to a parent who lost their child at Sandy Hook. Tell them that their child died in defense of your HIPPA rights? What exactly do they preach at the MCC?

    “President Obama wants to broaden background check requirements to include more private transactions. It’s impractical – some estimates hold that there are more than 300 million guns in America. If I give a gun to my father for his birthday do I have to do a background check on him?”

    Yes, yes you do. Would you let him get behind the wheel of a car if he were not physically or mentally able to operate it safely? Would you put a loaded weapon in his hands if he suffered from dementia? What if you weren’t there to stop him and we had to depend on some gun shop owner out to make a profit acting with impunity? What if he bought that gun 30 years ago, at a very different time in his life? You really going to fall back on his second amendment right to keep it?

    Your op-ed is just wrong on so many levels. Then again I do respect your first amendment right to say it, although I don’t espouse to the concept that misguided ideas cause no harm.

  • I’m sure the NRA’s thank you check is on its way to Reverend Klein.

  • “You are more likely to die from cancer, lung problems, heart attack or car crash than a gun assault (National Safety Council, 2011).” More Americans are shot by toddlers with guns than by terrorists, all this fuss about terrorism is just silly is right?. That’s your logic. Yes you are more likely to die from cancer, and an enormous amount of time, effort and investment is going into combating cancer. Also, car accidents: to own a car you need a licence, right? you need to do some training, you need to pass a test, you pay tax, need to register your vehicle; there are medical conditions that disqualify you (including mental illness). What’s wrong with doing a tiny bit of a background check before buying a gun?

    I’m too lazy to point the factual inaccuracies and exaggerations in your argument above, but I will add this: I have a mental illness and I’ve been locked up as a result when I was psychotic, which means I wouldn’t get to carry a gun in your country under the changes. But somehow I get the sense that you may not a genuine interest in my welfare.

  • And you’re a REVEREND?

  • I have suspected for years that the MCC is only a wee bit to the left of most U.S. evangelical churches, and generally far, far to the right of most LGBT people, and this column adds to the evidence. I for one do not want to do away with all guns, and tbh, have sometimes wondered if the people on the left have overly disarmed themselves in the face of rising rightwing violence. But to have fewer minimum requirements for gun ownership than for driving a car or owning a dog is absolutely ridiculous.

  • Log Cabin Republican tells me everything I need to know.

  • It’s shameful that Rev. Klein didn’t see fit to address the fact that 63% of firearm related deaths in the United States are suicide. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death of Americans, and most of the suicides are from firearms. We know that sensible gun control legislation (namely, strong and mandatory waiting periods to purchase a gun) drastically reduce suicide rates. Public health data show that the average time someone spends conemplating suicide is about 20 minutes. If their first choice of suicide is difficult (waiting periods, fences on bridges, etc.) are blocked, most people will not attempt suicide. They do not, as a whole, go looking for alternative means of suicide. We also know that most people who attempt suicide–and survive that attempt–never go on to make another attempt. Overdoses end in death about 1-2% of the time time. Using firearms for suicide attempts work nearly 100% of the time.

    It seems the Reverand is uninterested–or unaware–of the silent epidemic of suicide. As he continues to provide his misguided opinion, or friends, family, loved ones, and community dies from suicide.

  • I thank Obama for what he’s doing regarding guns in this country. I never thought of guns, nor that I would ever own one. All that has concerns changed thanks to this “leadership”. I’ve joined a gun range. I take shooting practice and I’ve submitted my paper work for a gun permit and will become an owner. Since this rogue president isn’t fit to protect this country, ultimately my protection will be up to me. I need to be at least on an equal playing field if I’m to ever be a victim of a gun staring me in the face. Perhaps Obama should tell the American people the REAL story for a change. That being that less than 40% of gun assault crimes are ever prosecuted. So when the time comes when he gives up his security detail, then I may think about giving up my weapon. Until then, I am now a proud gun owner and my next step is to get a license to carry.

    • More LCR propaganda. When does anything a gay conservative say make any common sense anyway? Imagine their spin on someone shooting people at a Pride Parade, Bar event or organization like HRC.

      I’m still waiting to hear factual examples of when people having guns actually were able to use them to defend themselves against an attack. That’s the argument for having them but when does it ever make a difference?

      Funny this guy was a Reverend. Makes you wonder if he carried a gun under his robe while giving mass.

  • Excellent points Mr. Klein. Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders would not have prevented ANY of the mass killings nor any of the 20,000 suicides by gun either. Also, isn’t the left the biggest defenders of state-sanctioned euthanasia? Just about every blue state has or is considering doctor-assisted suicide, so spare me the crocodile tears on suicide. Not to mention the left’s support of sbortion, which has killed over 40 million Americans since Roe v. Wade. So I don’t take any liberal’s FALSE concern for ‘life’ seriously when it comes to gun deaths. And yeah, mourn the children of Sandy Hook, along with the 40 million plus murder victims of abortion.

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