On December 31st, people gathered across America and the world to welcome the New Year with joyous festivities, hopeful resolutions, and cheerful optimism about fresh starts. Bucking the trend, President Obama opted against such new beginnings and vowed instead to do in 2016 as he has the last seven years: Whatever he wants, regardless of what the Constitution, Congress, the Courts, or the public, has to say about it.Using his vehicle of choice, Obama this week announced – with a flood of presidential tears – several “Executive Actions” aimed at restricting gun sales and ownership in the United States. Similar to his past moves, which range from further regulating healthcare to (illegally) expanding work permits for illegal immigrants, the President justified his unilateral policy decrees on a need to bypass an “ineffectual” Congress. Rather than actually traveling a few blocks up Pennsylvania Avenue to meet personally with congressional leaders, Obama chose again to chastise Congress for being held “hostage” by the “gun lobby.” Obama’s teary-eyed efforts to rally supporters to his gun-control agenda every time a publicized mass-shooting occurs, has become something of a broken record. While the latest proposals – like those unveiled three years ago following the Newtown tragedy -- appear on the surface to be largely benign, we had best take them seriously. As Ross Perot cautioned us, “the devil is in the details”; there is a relevant corollary to Perot’s maxim – “it’s often not what’s on the lines count; it’s what between the lines that matters most.”
Despite The Tears, Obama’s Anti-Gun Moves Are Dangerous
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Much like his Democratic predecessor Bill Clinton, Obama remains chronically apathetic towards the heavy-lifting required to work with Congress in order to pass his agenda through the regular constitutional process. But unlike Clinton, Obama detests the glad-handing, negotiations, and compromises with those he sees as beneath him; and finds it is far easier to use the “stroke of the pen” to accomplish his goals, regardless of the damage thereby done to such vital principles as limited presidential power and separation of powers between the branches of government. Whereas Clinton was relatively open with his Second Amendment agenda and proposed mostly symbolic policies designed to score political points, Obama has chosen to work in the shadows via non-legislative means that strike more calculated blows to heart of gun rights. And his efforts in this regard are many. Consider the Obama Administration’s signing of the “Arms Trade Treaty” (ATT), which even without ratification by Congress, means the U.S. is “obligated” not to act “contrary to” the gun-control efforts proffered by the treaty explicitly or in ancillary documents. Or, “Operation Choke Point” in 2014, when Obama ordered the Department of Justice and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to pressure banks to dry up financial funding critical to firearms transactions and firearms-related companies. Or, how Obama has attempted to shoehorn the Centers for Disease Control into the gun control debate in an ongoing attempt to make gun violence a “public health” crisis; thereby subject to Food and Drug Administration regulatory control.