“Now is the Time” for “Presidential Action” that Impacts the Firearms Industry

On January 16, 2013, President Obama issued a number of documents under the banner of “Now Is The Time”.  Many initiatives were outlined in the 15-page lead document plus various accompanying texts for Presidential Action.  We’ve culled through page after page of White House documents to identify the six items that may eventually impact the firearms industry.

1.  “Reinstate and strengthen the ban on assault weapons.”
2.  “Limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds.”
3.  “Finish the job of getting armor-piercing bullets off the streets.”
4.  “Eliminate restrictions that force the ATF to authorize importation of dangerous weapons simply because of their age.”
5.  “Analyze information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.”
6.  “Encourage the development of innovative gun safety technology.”

With respect to these six items only, no immediate, enforceable action was taken by President Obama.  There had been speculation that President Obama might sign “Executive Orders” to create immediately effective directives, but he did not do so with respect to these six items.  Instead, President Obama coined the phrase “presidential action” to characterize his rallying call to various executive branch agencies and the legislative branch to take up the issue in the more traditional regulatory and legislative formats.

What makes the group of documents tricky is that each was separately titled and issued and there does not appear to be a table of contents to all that was signed.  So, for example, one of the documents of January 16 is a “Presidential Memorandum” pertaining to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), and in the Memorandum various deadlines are issued to the Department of Justice and the Attorney General that start as quickly as 45-days thereafter.  And another of the documents turns out to be a letter issued not by the President, but by CMS on the provisions of medical provider reporting.

As with all of the recent political activity at the federal, state, and local levels, it is important to differentiate between what “is” and what “might be.”  If you are responsible for compliance at your company, it is critical to deal with current compliance requirements.  It is interesting and potentially even strategic to consider what the future might hold for the industry, but the future is not yet enforceable.  This makes our “Now is the Time” for you to assess any weaknesses in your current compliance program, and mitigate the risk of any agency audit.

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