THE EXECUTIVE ORDERS
Obama Can Still Attack The Second Amendment Without Congress
By Harold Hutchison
“STROKE OF THE PEN, LAW OF THE LAND”
In 1998, as Bill Clinton found many of his big legislative initiatives blocked by Congress, he turned to executive orders to move a left-wing agenda forward. As one advisor, Paul Begala put it, “Strike of the pen, law of the land.” But could that be used to ban guns today? While Obama has used executive orders to bypass Congress on issues like welfare reform and immigration, there are real limits to the extent he can use those powers.
Yet, at the same time, he has already used executive branch powers to support the agenda of the gun-grabbing extremists at the Brady Campaign and Mayors Against Illegal Guns. He is already being urged to do more by the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress. There is a very real risk that we could still see federal encroachment on our Second Amendment rights.
How is this possible? Doesn’t Congress have the power to pass laws? The answer is that some past laws passed by Congress have given Obama leeway on Second Amendment rights. Under the provisions of the 1968 Gun Control Act, the President can do such things – and two previous presidents have arguably provided Obama the precedent to do just that.
One of the executive powers that he has already used has been the ability to refuse permission to import guns. In 2012, there was controversy over the Obama Administration’s refusal to allow the re-importation of guns given to South Korea. Among these are over 700,000 M1 Carbines gathering dust in the Republic of Korea. Over 85,000 M1 Garand rifles had been similarly held up by the Obama Administration.
But while Obama has held up the re-importation, there are some other instances where the BATF has been allowed to carry out importation bans. ATF has the authority to prohibit the importation of firearms “not suitable for sporting purposes.” This is a very subjective term. Many of the military-style semi-auto rifles that anti-gunners want to grab can be used in NRA competitions. Many semi-auto pistols can be used in IPSC or IDPA competitions as well. Yet, these guns – and the standard magazines that they use – are precisely targeted for bans. Handguns were judges based on “factoring criteria” used by BATF.
The first notable ban was in 1989, in the wake of the Stockton, California, massacre at a day care center. President George H.W. Bush agreed to allow BATF to prohibit the importation of 43 models of semi-automatic rifles. But Bill Clinton took the import bans into overdrive. In 1993, Clinton banned the importation of certain pistols even though they met the criteria for importation. In 1998, Clinton banned the importation of 58 other semi-auto rifles.
WHAT THAT MEANS
In essence, Obama could sign an executive order that could bar the importation of every semi-automatic firearm that would fall under the revised ban being pushed by Senator Dianne Feinstein. In essence, it would be akin to the constant tightening of so-called “loopholes” that we see in places like California. These actions are hard to overcome – barring a replacement of the President.
The good news for gun owners is that semi-autos made in the United States will still be available for purchase – as long as gun bans can be held at bay. The bad news is that ONLY American-made semi-autos would be available. In essence, while American gun-makers thrive, the removal of competition does mean that prices will go higher, especially in a climate like the one now, where there is a run on semi-auto firearms. There is also only so much manufacturing capacity, and already there are reports of lengthy waits for new semi-autos.
The other move that anti-gunners have often pushed has been to go after gun dealers. During the Clinton Administration, BATF was turned loose on FFLs, and proceeded to pull a number of FFLs. What is to say that the Obama Administration will not do the same? Keep in mind, BATF pressured a number of gun dealers to go along with the flawed Fast & Furious gun-walking scheme that involved walking semi-auto rifles to Mexican drug runners.
The Obama Administration may add other options. The CAP report suggested five executive actions Obama could order. These actions included a nationwide requirement for multiple-sales reporting of semi-auto rifles and shotguns, having the FBI absorb BATF, adding additional federal records to the National Instant Check System, penalizing states for not providing sufficient records to the National Instant Check System, and requiring that employees at gun stores undergo background check during annual audits.
The anti-gunners are working very hard to exploit the tragic murder of 20 innocent children in Newtown. It is very possible to stop them, if you are willing to take action. You need to join with other gun owners. Go to http://membership.nrahq.org/ to join the NRA. Then go to https://www.nraila.org/get-involved-locally/forms/secure/frontlines.aspx to become part of NRA-ILA’s Frontlines to help defeat the gun-grabbers’ plans.