White House 'idea factory' urges specific executive orders. Influential group releases detailed gun control plans



By Aaron Klein

A progressive group with enormous influence over White House policy has issued specific recommendations to the Obama administration on how to push sweeping gun control, including suggestions for executive orders.

The Center for American Progress released an 11-page proposal, reviewed by KleinOnline, calling for the full ban on the sale of assault weapons and magazines with a capacity for more than 10 bullets. The CAP suggests legislation to require licensing and transfer restrictions on new and existing assault rifles.

The CAP  paper, delivered to the White House last week, recommends that Obama issue executive orders requiring all states to collect more data on prospective gun owners for inclusion in a nationwide database.

Such a presidential edict would withhold funding to any state that did not provide the federal government with the names of all the individuals who are prohibited from owning firearms, including those barred from purchasing guns due to mental illness.

The executive action specifically would penalize states that fail to provide records to the National Instant Criminal Background System, or NICS, which is a point-of-sale system for determining eligibility to purchase a firearm.

The NICS is controversial because it receives telephone calls from mental health institutions, psychiatrists, and family members who can request the placement of individuals into the NICS Index.  Those individuals can then be barred from purchasing a weapon of the NICS if satisfied with the complaint, usually requiring supporting documentation,

NICS is located at the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division in Clarksburg, West Virginia.

Meanwhile, the CAP also recommends that Obama issue an executive order folding the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives into the FBI. The ATF currently operates as an agency within the Department of Justice.

The CAP calls for criminal background checks for all gun sales, including private sellers such as those at gun shows and online dealers.

The CAP pushes the implementation of Sen. Chuck Schumer’s Fix Gun Checks Act, which requires all states to provide data to the NICS.

That act, reviewed in full by KleinOnline, also contains further restrictions on gun sales due to drug addiction.

The act prohibits gun ownership for those convicted of possession or use of a controlled substance within the past five years. It also bars gun ownership for five years for those who failed a drug test or admitted to using or possessing a controlled substance illegally.

The CAP further urges the Obama administration to back Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s proposal to ban assault weapons and adds to those restrictions gun magazines with a capacity of more than 10 bullets.

The Center demands guns not be sold to convicted stalkers or anyone on U.S. government’s Terrorist Watchlist.

CAP is run by John Podesta, a former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton who was co-chairman of President Obama’s 2008 White House transition team.

Podesta and CAP have had heavy influence on the crafting of White House policy. CAP routinely releases policy reports that are reportedly used in the formulation of Obama administration policy.

A Time magazine article profiled the influence of Podesta’s Center for American Progress in the formation of the Obama administration, stating that “not since the Heritage Foundation helped guide Ronald Reagan’s transition in 1981 has a single outside group held so much sway.”

The article branded the CAP as the “idea factory” of the Obama administration.

Several former Obama administration officials have joined CAP. Donald Berwick, who served as head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services until December 2011, just joined the liberal think tank when he stepped down.

Former EPA Commissioner Carol Browner is a CAP distinguished senior fellow, as is Van Jones, Obama’s former “green” jobs czar who resigned in 2009 after it was exposed he founded a communist revolutionary organization and implied the Bush administration may have been involved in the 9/11 attacks.

Sen. Tom Daschle, currently rumored to be a possible Obama pick for White House chief of staff, is a CAP alumnus.