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Federal Gun Control Requires IT Overhaul 436

New submitter Matt Slaybaugh writes "John Foley at InformationWeek has an editorial saying that the missing piece in the new gun control legislation is adequate data management. 'President Obama introduced 23 executive orders on Jan. 16 aimed at reducing gun violence through a combination of tougher regulation and enforcement, research, training, education and attention to mental healthcare. Several of the proposed actions involve better information sharing, including requiring federal agencies to make relevant data available to the FBI's background check system and easing legal barriers that prevent states from contributing data to that system.' But concrete plans are needed now to improve the current poor system of data collection and sharing. Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel's Digital Government Strategy, introduced in May, 'defines an IT architecture and processes for sharing digitized content securely, using Web APIs and with attention to protecting privacy. ... Unfortunately, on top of the data quality issues identified by the White House, and the FBI's and ATF's outdated IT systems, there's a lack of transparency about the systems used to enforce federal gun-control laws.'"
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Federal Gun Control Requires IT Overhaul

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  • by buck-yar ( 164658 ) on Friday February 01, 2013 @01:33PM (#42762563)

    From Heller vs DC oral arguments:

    CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Well, that may be true, but that concedes your main point that there is an individual right and gets to the separate question of
    whether the regulations at issue here are reasonable.

    MR. DELLINGER: Well, the different kind of right that you're talking about, to take this to the question of -- of what the standard ought to be for applying this, even if this extended beyond a militia-based right, if it did, it sounds more like the part of an expansive public or personal -- an expansive personal liberty right, and if it -- if it is, I think you ought to consider the effect on the 42 States who have been getting along fine with State constitutional provisions that do expressly protect an individual right of -- of weapons for personal use, but in those States, they have adopted a reasonableness standard that has
    allowed them to sustain sensible regulation of dangerous weapons. And if you -
    CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: What is -- what is reasonable about a total ban on possession? MR. DELLINGER: What is reasonable about a
    total ban on possession is that it's a ban only an the possession of one kind of weapon, of handguns, that's been considered especially -- especially dangerous. The CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: So if you have a law that prohibits the possession of books, it's all right if you allow the possession of newspapers?

    MR. DELLINGER: No, it's not, and the difference is quite clear. If -- if you -- there is no limit to the public discourse. If there is an individual right to guns for personal use, it's to carry out a purpose, like protecting the home. You could not, for example, say that no one may have more than 50 books. But a law that said no one may possess more than 50 guns would -- would in fact be I think quite reasonable.

    GENERAL CLEMENT: Okay. I would like to talk about the standard and my light is indeed on, so let me do that.I think there are several reasons why a standard as we suggest in our brief rather than strict scrutiny is an appropriate standard to be applied in evaluating these laws. I think first and foremost, as our colloquy earlier indicated, there is -- the right to bear arms was a preexisting right. The Second Amendment talks about "the right to bear arms," not just "a right to bear arms." And that preexisting always coexisted with reasonable regulations of firearms.

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/07-290.pdf [supremecourt.gov]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2013 @01:34PM (#42762579)

    Dianne Feinstein has a concealed carry permit. Or used to, when she carried a pistol in her purse. Now she has armed guards instead.

  • Same old crap. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MaWeiTao ( 908546 ) on Friday February 01, 2013 @01:47PM (#42762731)

    The government needs to dump what they've got and start from scratch. But all I can say is good luck.

    They can barely set up a site properly, let alone build and manage a sophisticated database. Visit most government sites and they're a convoluted maze of poorly organized content. And federal government sites are halfway decent, state and municipal sites are many orders of magnitude worse. I can't comprehend how the companies that build that junk remain in business.

    Well, actually I can. I know people IT and web who've done work for my state and it's an absolute nightmare. It's the sort of thing that they've consistently said they'd never do again. I think the few willing to do it haven't so much figured out how to work through the red tape so much as exploit the system for personal gain. It doesn't help when you're dealing with government workers who are total incompetents, managing things they know nothing about. But as long as they look productive they don't have to worry about accountability.

    And that's part of the problem. You still have to deal with the human component. I know someone who was self-employed and struggling. Because of it he was eligible for free health insurance through the state so he applied successfully. There's no copay or anything because, as was explained to him by a social worker, even if they only charged a dollar most people on the program would still refuse to pay. The expectation is that it all should be free.

    So a year in he lands a decent job and is no longer eligible for the program. He gets in touch with the worker to cancel the plan. Over the next year he continues getting plan updates. They even switch providers for him. The state partners with various companies and over so often they have to switch providers. The user is supposed to pick a plan or risk cancellation. But apparently if you ignore all the paperwork they take care of it all for you. So here he was calling multiple times before they finally dropped him. Someone with fewer scruples could have milked the plan indefinitely. And in fact, I know of some people who've done just that.

    That's just one example. I have others. With this level of incompetence how can we expected any program to be implemented and managed properly? The existing program should already be addressing these problems. No one ever assess and analyzes. It's always that we need something even bigger and more complex couple to the idea that more money can fix any problem. Then when the next grand program fails they'll just start the cycle all over.

    I'm not suggesting we don't need an overhaul. I'm simply pointing out that it's almost certainly going to be a financial morass resulting in something no more effective than we've got now.

  • by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Friday February 01, 2013 @01:54PM (#42762815)

    I suspect the problem of establishing interoperability among the government agencies is harder than it sounds. The DoD has been working on getting their stovepiped systems to talk to one another for 20 years. Remember the big push after 9/11 to get all the first responders talking on the same radio frequencies? Hundreds of millions spent, and still no results. So "incompatible computer systems" doesn't sound to me like a minor hurdle that can be overcome with a couple years' R&D. It sounds more to me like "doomed from the outset."

    Possibly our best defense against Big Brother is that the government adopted all its major IT systems before the Internet was a household word.

  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Friday February 01, 2013 @02:09PM (#42763013)
    Prosecutions for violating existing federal gun laws are down significantly under Obama. Joe Biden said that they do not have the time and manpower in order to pursue violations of the law on background checks. If the Administration does not enforce existing laws, why should we believe that any new laws will make any positive difference?
  • by Curunir_wolf ( 588405 ) on Friday February 01, 2013 @02:12PM (#42763051) Homepage Journal

    If you call the police and say: "somebody is trying to kill me", you will have a whole bunch of police units coming to you to protect you.

    Riiiiiiiight... That ALWAYS works, doesn't it? I can't think of one single incident where a threatened person called the police and they failed to arrive before the killing occurred. Oh, wait, I have that backwards, don't I?

    And, BTW, there have been numerous cases where the courts have made it explicitly clear that police are under NO obligation WHATSOEVER to protect anyone.

  • by RoTNCoRE ( 744518 ) on Friday February 01, 2013 @02:15PM (#42763095) Homepage

    Bank balance? The realization that personal security is largely one's own responsibility (which I refuse to abdicate), and that I am in many/most cases the best person to provide that for myself, and determine the level that is adequate for me?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2013 @02:15PM (#42763101)
    his right to protect himself perhaps?
  • Re:Shocking? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by clarkkent09 ( 1104833 ) on Friday February 01, 2013 @02:23PM (#42763205)

    Not only renewed it but made it permanent so he doesn't have to renew it every year, and have go through the inconvenience of hiding that fact from his followers again.

  • Re:Unauthorized (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Feyshtey ( 1523799 ) on Friday February 01, 2013 @03:32PM (#42764157)
    "...shall not be infringed..."

    Pretty simple statement, right?

    If you change the criteria of "right to bear arms", and you lesson the numbers or options of those arms, you are infringing. Also a very simple and easily understood statement.

    To simplify for you, if it is my right to drink any soda brand I want, and you come to me and say "Well, yeah, everything but Shasta.", you are without question or room for interpretation infringing on my right to dink soda.
  • Re:Shocking? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Friday February 01, 2013 @04:39PM (#42765067)

    "BS. GGP post was not referring to amendment of the U.S. Constitution, its the discredited Xth amendment stupidity. It doesn't work like that. This has been tested, and a war was fought on the issues. The Feds won."

    Sorry, just wrong. Time to read the history books.

    For just one example, the propaganda insinuating that nullification has been "discredited", or has racist roots, are what is really BS. One, and only one, Southern governor threatened to try using it against anti-discrimination laws, but he never actually did.

    On the other hand, nullification was used successfully by the North against the Fugitive Slave Laws. It was never used in support of slavery. (In fact, South Carolina listed Northern nullification as its first justification, in its declaration of secession. Other Southern states listed it also in their declarations, but not as the first reason.)

    It has been used many times since. Far from being discredited, it has been used numerous times, and is in active effect right now!

    No less than 26 states have nullified the Federal "Real ID Act". It is effectively dead in the water.

    A number of states have nullified Federal marijuana laws, making marijuana legal in those states (or at least decriminalizing it). Two states recently passed legislation making it legal for recreational, not just medical, use.

    Several states have nullified Federal gun laws already. At least one of them has made it a felony for anybody to attempt to enforce Federal gun laws that the state considers to be extra-constitutional. Tennessee is considering similar legislation, as are other states.

    So examples of modern, current state nullification are all around you. All Government propaganda aside, you can call it "discredited" all you want, but you would know better if you just pulled your head out and took a look around. For a "discredited" concept, it sure has been -- and continues to be -- pretty darned effective.

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban