As one of his first initiatives of 2016, President Obama signed new executive actions on gun control and pleaded to the nation about the urgency of stopping gun violence in our communities.
“Every single year, more than 30,000 Americans have their lives cut short by guns — 30,000. Suicides. Domestic violence. Gang shootouts,” Obama said during an announcement at the White House. “I believe in the Second Amendment. It’s there written on the paper. It guarantees a right to bear arms. No matter how many times people try to twist my words around — I taught constitutional law, I know a little about this — I get it. But I also believe that we can find ways to reduce gun violence consistent with the Second Amendment.”
Fast-forward three months and you’ll find the president’s executive actions and rhetoric to reduce violence don’t add up.
Last week, Obama commuted the sentences of 61 individuals and invited them to the White House to tell their stories. Sentence commutation is standard practice for presidents. Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonMaxwell accuser testifies the British socialite was present when Epstein abuse occurred Epstein pilot testifies Maxwell was 'number two' in operation Federal judge changes his mind about stepping down, eliminating vacancy for Biden to fill MORE granted dozens of requests long before Obama’s time in the Oval Office. People make mistakes and poor decisions in life and sometimes deserve second chances.
According to the White House, the sentences Obama chose to commute were harmless, victimless drug offenses, but a deeper dive shows serious and violent firearms related crimes coupled with drug offenses, proving once again that Obama isn’t serious about reducing gun violence on the streets of America.
Out of the 61 sentences commuted, 12 included the illegal use of a firearm during the commission of a drug trafficking crime. In addition, many convicts were charged with possession and use of a firearm as a felon.
Take, for example, Bernard Beard of Compton, Calif. Beard was convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, cocaine base, heroin and phencyclidine. He also served a sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Or how about Ian Kavanaugh Gavin of Eight Mile, Ala., who was serving federal time for using and carrying a firearm in furtherance of his possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute?
Ernest Spiller of East St. Louis, Ill., was convicted of running a crack house in a local neighborhood, distributing crack cocaine on more than one occasion, and of possessing a firearm as a felon to carry out his drug trafficking crimes.
Obama just gave them, and nine others who used firearms to carry out their crimes, an early bailout.
Law enforcement officers from around the country are alarmed by Obama’s choices and the threat soon-to-be-free convicts pose to local neighborhoods.
“As the only elected law enforcement officials in America, we are greatly concerned about the direct negative impact our President’s decision to commute the sentences of armed criminals,” the Major County Sheriff’s Association, which is made up of a elected sheriffs representing over 100 million Americans around the country, wrote in a statement about the president’s actions. “These individuals are not low level non-violent drug offenders as the Administration would have the public believe — they are violent criminals who are being released back into our neighborhoods.”
But Obama failing to hold out convictions for these types of criminals isn’t the only issue. Overall prosecutions for federal firearm crimes have severely decreased during his tenure.
“Of the two most common federal gun offenses — illegally selling a firearm or using one in connection with another crime — the number of cases dropped from 11,067 in 2004 to 8,078 in 2014, according to data kept by federal prosecutors. The figure ticked up in 2015, to 8,528,” The Washington Times reported late last year.
If Obama were serious about ending gun violence, he would demand the Justice Department enforce and prosecute federal guns laws already in place, in addition to refusing to commute the sentences of individuals who violate federal firearms laws during the course of a crime. Unfortunately, he’s done the opposite by taking advantage of tragedy to push a gun control agenda and by promoting government policies that would do nothing to reduce crime or to keep violent offenders behind bars.
The reduction in gun violence President Obama claims to desperately want comes from law enforcement and prosecution, not from political rhetoric, lectures and sentence commutations for federal firearm law offenders and felons.
Pavlich is editor for Townhall.com and a Fox News contributor.