Executive Power and Gun Control

January 1st, 2016

The President has announced that he's seeking to enact new controls without the cooperation or consent of Congress. I understand how this could be worrying on the surface.

The thing is, he really can't do that.  I've written about this before.  Whatever murky construct they may be, executive orders can't be used to enact or alter laws.  The chief executive doesn't have that power, and for very good reason.

It's unsettling that this President has repeatedly and publicly stated a desire to bypass our system of checks and balances.  Regarding economic relief in 2011, he said,

We can't wait for

Whimper, Not Bang

January 16th, 2013

The President outlined his agenda for gun control this morning. The media calls it "sweeping." That's not the adjective I'd use.

He wants limits on magazine capacity, a ban on "assault weapons," and universal background checks. Those things require legislation, for which the chances look pretty grim. Even Harry Reid and Steny Hoyer have gone on the record as being pessimistic on the matter, no matter how many gruesome pictures Joe Manchin wants to run on the evening news.

So, that leaves Executive Orders, of which the President has proposed 23. Most are harmless, a couple are potentially troubling, and a couple have real merit.

None, of course, would have prevented the tragedy at Sandy Hook.

Executive Orders

November 10th, 2012

There won't be any new gun control laws coming from the legislature any time in the near future. Why not? Because the President wants them. The Republicans have done a bang-up job of playing the obstructionist card the last few years, and I've little doubt they'll continue to do their best to deny him anything they can.

So, will he try to pull something "under the radar?" One of the concerns I frequently hear is that he'll resort to passing legislation through executive orders.

That's not how it works.

We don't have an exact definition of what an executive order is, nor do we know the full limits. Authority for them is attributed to Article II, Section 5, which states the President "shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." To this end, executive orders are generally understood to grant the President the authority to enforce or facilitate a certain law.

But they are not used to make laws.