The Obama administration is threatening to act by executive fiat if Congress does not enact new gun control. The point man on new regulations, Vice President Joe Biden, has spelled out the president’s willingness to take action on his own if he deems it necessary.
“The president is going to act. Executive orders, executive action can be taken,” Biden told reporters, per CNN. “We haven’t decided what this is yet, but we’re compiling it all with the help of the attorney general and the rest of the Cabinet members.” Biden also said, as Reuters reported: “We are not going to get caught up in the notion that unless we can do everything, we’re going to do nothing. There are executive orders, executive action that can be taken. We haven’t decided what that is yet.”
It is being speculated that Obama could issue orders to expand background checks on gun buyers, ban certain gun imports and tighten oversight of gun dealers. He could also sign executive orders that would increase information-sharing by law enforcement agencies concerning illegal gun purchases and the preservation of gun sale data for longer periods. The major targets are military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.
A preview of plans by Obama and Democratic leaders can be seen in the legislative package by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York: a ban on assault-type weapons with military features, limiting magazines to not more than seven bullets and authorizing confiscation of guns in possession of anyone considered mentally unstable.
The Cuomo legislation most significantly would halt the private resale of assault rifles and large capacity magazines produced before they were banned in 1994. The New York law would require registration of such pre-1994 weapons and prohibit retention of large magazines by the owners. Other restrictions would prohibit the direct sale of ammunition over the Internet in New York. The gun-control push by Cuomo could improve his position for a possible run for president in 2016, pundits observe.
At least thus far Cuomo has moved through legislative channels with his gun-control initiative — the proper way to legislate, regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the legislation. It’s a stark contrast to the imperial approach of Obama who last June — without even consulting Congress where there was strong Republican opposition — issued an executive order allowing more than 800,000 illegal immigrants who came to America as children to stay here.
On that point, Georgia Republican Congressman Tom Graves of Ranger got it right with his reaction to Obama’s threat to do by executive order what Congress won’t do. Graves said if the president’s policies can’t pass Congress, “it means the American people have rejected them,” adding that a presidential order “for new gun controls would be in clear defiance of the will of the people and our democratic process.”
Will the Congress — and can the people — do anything to stop government by presidential fiat?