President Barack Obama got right back to work after his holiday break with gun control on his mind. At a meeting Monday with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey and other top law enforcement officials, the president was briefed on proposals designed to crack down on unregulated gun sales.
Later in the week, CNN will host the president for a town hall meeting on the issue, which was brought home vividly when 14 people were massacred by a heavily armed young Muslim-American couple during mass shooting at a holiday party in California in early December.
Republican presidential hopefuls immediately hammered Obama’s move to invoke executive power – that is, to enact laws without Congressional approval – to make the new measures legal.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called the president a “petulant child,” while frontrunner Donald Trump vowed to use HIS future executive power to overturn Obama’s.
Resolve to Reduce Gun Violence in New Year
The Editorial Board – The Des Moines Register
After the shootings in San Bernardino, the Senate rejected gun control bills this month. Democrats revived a failed bill on background checks from April 2013, in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings. Since that school massacre, at least 1,327 people have been killed in mass shootings.
Nothing has changed in Washington, however….
There is no single answer to reducing gun violence, and not every shooting can be prevented. But we’re doing too little now, and so much more can be done. Finding a solution requires a range of responses, including: better mental health care and tracking, universal background checks, making guns safer (through “smart gun” technology that allows only the owner to fire); and requiring liability insurance for guns. Done correctly, these solutions would not infringe on Americans’ constitutional rights.
Finding a solution also requires open minds and courageous hearts. Let’s resolve to have both this year.
Obama’s New Year’s Address Hinted at New Gun Laws:
Obama and the Limits of Executive Power
Noah Feldman – Bloomberg View
For liberals who relished the idea of Obama unbound, the limitations on executive action, both legal and political, feel like unfair usurpations of legitimate presidential power. For conservatives who don’t like the policies that Obama would enact, the delays surely come as evidence that the tripartite system of government is a working relationship.
Who’s right?… The upshot of all this is that the Constitution won’t really tell you what you should think about unilateral executive action. Rather, whatever you conclude can be read backward into the text.
Obama did take executive actions on gun control in 2013. But those 23 actions — including improving the accessibility of federal data for the background check system — should presumably have gone as far as Obama was empowered to go. Coming up with meaningful new actions that don’t exceed the president’s authority is going to take some serious legal creativity.
New Year, Same Obama: Give Me a Pen, There’s Gun Control to Demand
Cheryl Chumley – The Blaze
New Year, new executive order. That’s how President Obama is ringing in 2016 – with a robust toast to his own power and hubris, and a simultaneous glass tink and eye wink at the Second Amendment.
By the middle of January, Obama will have made his move, most political watchers say….That means if you want to sell your gun to your neighbor, under Obama’s new order, you’ll need to first pass an executive-mandated background check from the federal authorities.
And I say executive-mandated because the policy won’t be congressionally approved.It’s yet another presidential bypass of Congress, the duly elected, the electorate, and by extension, the Constitution. Call it the “Obama Special” – the pen and phone approach to governance – the modern day way of legislating in America.
President Obama, Close the ‘Gun Show Loophole’
Mark O’Mara – CNN
President Barack Obama reportedly is planning to take executive action to close the so-called “gun show loophole” in federal gun laws. A White House spokesman says that “our policy folks, our lawyers, and our experts” have been working to see what is possible.
If he can, then he should…
A provision in the 1968 Gun Control Act designed to allow private gun owners to sell their property has been stretched and abused to create a thriving unregulated gun trade.
I am a gun owner, and I have a concealed weapons permit — though I do not carry as a matter of course.
We can pay the necessary homage to the NRA and the gun rights lobby, which is apparently “required” whenever we talk about a restriction on gun ownership. But after that, we must acknowledge that expanding background checks for people who want to buy firearms is not only long overdue, it is absolutely necessary.