Gun Confiscation By Presidential Decree?
By Matthew Vadum
President Obama may soon act unilaterally to curtail Americans’ right to keep and bear arms and impose a new national firearms policy without congressional approval.
Spurred on by the Newtown, Connecticut schoolhouse massacre last month that took 26 lives, Obama could restrict, perhaps even abolish, private gun ownership with the stroke of his auto-pen.
Second Amendment backers are justifiably angry after Vice President Joe Biden spoke yesterday about ways to curb violent gun-related crime. He suggested that the president may take swift, decisive action without congressional approval.
“The president is going to act,” said Biden who is heading up a task force that is supposed to make policy recommendations to Obama later this month. The vice president reportedly “guaranteed” Boston Mayor Thomas Menino that President Obama would push through sweeping firearms restrictions before February.
“There are executive orders, there’s executive action that can be taken. We haven’t decided what that is yet. But we’re compiling it all with the help of the attorney general and the rest of the cabinet members as well as legislative action that we believe is required.”
Biden added, “As the president said, if your actions result in only saving one life, they’re worth taking. But I’m convinced we can affect the well-being of millions of Americans and take thousands of people out of harm’s way if we act responsibly.”
“I want to make it clear that we are not going to get caught up in the notion that unless we can do everything, we’re going to do nothing,” Biden said. “It’s critically important we act.”
In normal times the prospect of gun confiscation might be next to nil, the stuff of conspiracy theories, but in the age of Obama so many bad things seem possible. With the country in a sour mood, the economy stuck in a ditch, and a transformational Marxist in the White House, terrible outcomes that previously appeared farfetched now could become possible.
Consider that Obama is a devout ideologue who deep down doesn’t believe Americans should be allowed to own guns. He’s a longtime supporter of gun confiscation but when he began running for president he began claiming to be a supporter of the Second Amendment in order not to scare away moderate voters.
He has Freudian-slipped from time to time. In his first presidential campaign he mocked small-town Americans as “bitter” people who “cling to guns or religion,” paraphrasing Saul Alinsky’s attacks on ordinary Americans.
Consider also that Obama is a narcissistic president with a messiah complex who began his political career in the living room of unrepentant bomb-detonating terrorists.
Since winning the 2008 election Obama has: refused to enforce laws he dislikes including laws cracking down on the voter fraud Democrats often need to win elections; routinely assaulted the Bill of Rights; decreed a partial immigration amnesty after it was rejected by Congress; ignored court orders; recess-appointed high government officials when Congress wasn’t actually in recess; attempted to intimidate Supreme Court justices; kept a Nixon-style enemies’ list and labeled his detractors in the Tea Party movement as terrorists; waged class warfare and encouraged racial animosity; presided over the “Fast and Furious” gun-walking scandal that provided weapons to Mexican drug cartels; nationalized large swaths of private industry; ignored politically-inspired violence carried out by his allies; unilaterally moved to impose economy-killing carbon emission controls; openly disdained entrepreneurs; waged war without congressional approval; accepted illegal foreign campaign contributions; tried to get a governor to appoint his crony (Valerie Jarrett) to fill the Senate seat he vacated; said police “acted stupidly” when they dared to arrest his personal friend; turned a blind eye to rampant corruption in his administration; and forced health care providers to violate their religious beliefs.
Now Obama is apparently considering minting a $1 trillion platinum coin in order to evade the congressionally imposed national debt limit.
This is the behavior of a Third World banana republic caudillo, not the supposed leader of the free world.
Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) said the president’s proposal to go it alone sounded like “dictatorship” to him. “The Founding Fathers never envisioned Executive Orders being used to restrict our Constitutional rights,” he said in a press release. “We live in a republic, not a dictatorship.”
Two unusually insightful posts on the micro-blogging website Twitter summed up the public’s anxiety at Obama’s overreach and imperial approach to policymaking.
“Executive Orders on 2nd Amendment Rights could cascade into revolt,” tweeted @daxtonbrown. “I don’t think Obama realizes how seriously people take gun rights.”
A user with the handle @siftyboones tweeted, “My family will not be reduced to docile livestock at the whim of the government. The End.”
Any executive order taking Americans’ guns away would be a brutal assault on the rule of law. It could also lead to violent civil unrest in a nation founded upon a healthy distrust of governmental power.
Yesterday NRA president David Keene reaffirmed that the purpose of the Second Amendment to the Constitution was to prevent tyranny and deter foreign invaders.
“The Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunters. Hunters use firearms. Hunters have every right to use firearms, as do target shooters, as do gun collectors, as do others,” said Keene.
“The fact of the matter is that the Second Amendment has to do with personal and national defense. It was put into the Constitution by the Founders who considered it as important indeed as the First Amendment.”
As Charles Krauthammer waxed eloquent on Fox News Channel last night:
We have a 200-year history and culture of gun ownership. And we have a Second Amendment and we have a system that believes that the rights, the Second Amendment, in other words, predate the republic and the point of having a government, as in the Declaration [of Independence], is to secure the rights. In Britain you have no such right, the government will control gun ownership so unless you’re willing to confiscate, which would be unconstitutional and that would cause an insurrection in the country –Australia did– these things are not going to have an effect, except at the margins and that’s the tragedy here.
Although many law enforcement personnel would probably refuse to enforce something as profoundly un-American as a gun-confiscation diktat, it is not at all clear where Obama would get the legal authority to unilaterally impose new gun control measures. Even liberal constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe concedes that –at a minimum– the Second Amendment safeguards the individual right of Americans to “possess and use firearms in the defense of themselves and their homes.”
The Supreme Court has blown away gun grabbers in recent years. In the landmark case of District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the high court struck down the draconian ban on gun ownership that had long been in effect in the nation’s capital. The court found for the first time that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, affirming what serious constitutional scholars had known for years.
The court followed up in the case of McDonald v. Chicago, making it clear that the individual right to keep and bear arms acknowledged in the Heller ruling applies to the states as well. That 2010 decision quashed a Chicago city ordinance banning the possession of handguns.
Complicating matters further for Obama, it turns out then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was correct when she said to lawmakers in 2010, “we have to pass the [health care] bill so that you can find out what’s in it.”
A new report from Breitbart.com indicates that a provision is buried in the Obamacare legislation that protects Second Amendment rights. The clause states that the government is not allowed to collect “any information relating to the lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) confirmed that he added the legislative language in order to keep the National Rifle Association out of the legislative battle over Obamacare. It probably seemed like a good idea at the time.
Will any of these legal concerns matter to President Obama who regards the Constitution at best as a living document and at worst as an inconvenience?
As gun and ammunition sales skyrocket nationwide, it is clear the public isn’t taking the chance that Obama will feel restrained by the laws of the land.