The Absurdity of Executive Orders to Halt the Gun Violence Epidemic Without Declaring A National State of Emergency

by Elliot Fineman
CEO National Gun Victims Action Council
December 6, 2015


President Obama is scrambling to identify executive actions he can take unilaterally that cannot be restrained by Congress. But, there are major obstacles. First, there is no clear legal path for such actions because they involve complex legal and operational factors that are difficult to surmount and they could take months to draft. Secondly, if President Obama does reach what he feels are workable unilateral executive actions, Congress and the NRA will challenge them in court—leading to more delays.


There is another, even bigger problem. The executive actions under consideration will do nothing to halt the gun violence epidemic. Redefining firearms dealers who are “engaged in the business” to increase background checks misses the fact that the last fifteen mass shooters all passed their background checks because our background checks are horribly flawed.


The gun lobby has blocked: gun violence research and data from the CDC, the setting up of a computerized database at the ATF and a registry of gun owners so we can identify people who have become unstable or radicalized since buying their guns. The irony is that the NRA’s blockade of such information/data/research gives President Obama the authority to invoke the National Emergencies Act which is justified when the government lacks the procedures and capacity to address an unchecked natural or man-made public health epidemic.


The government lacks the data needed to halt the gun violence epidemic. Congress could not halt it even if it wanted to.

To immediately halt the gun violence epidemic we need executive actions that cannot be blocked by Congress. They can only be issued under a declared National State of Emergency. Examples of needed executive actions include: Universal REAL Backgrounds Checks, suspending the gun industry’s liability immunity, making gun trafficking a felony, banning assault weapons, closing of the terror/watch list loophole, monitoring ammunition sales etc.


The National Emergencies Act—designed for a swift response to serious health risks to the public—allows President Obama to surmount the obstructionism. Under the act, the National State of Emergency would expire when the government had the procedures and capacity to address the man-made public health epidemic.


No matter what atrocity happens, Congress will not act –nor will Congress allow President Obama to act unilaterally. The only way he can act is to declare a National State of Emergency. It is the one thing the NRA is truly afraid of because it neutralizes them.


In fact, a day before the San Bernardino shootings, the NRA said there is no gun violence epidemic—the problem is NGVAC and our petition for President Obama to declare a National State of Emergency!



If you have not already done so, sign our petition now Petition for State of Emergency and encourage the people in your world to do so as well.

Elliot Fineman
CEO – Founder
National Gun Victims Action Council Petition for State of Emergency

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