In typical fashion, President Obama has decided what he can’t get from Congress he’ll do on his own. He often brags about working with Congress, but his definition is different from mine. Working with Congress means sitting down and negotiating details of a particular issue until both sides feel comfortable enough to support it. What it doesn’t mean is insisting on your point of view then walking away in a huff when you don’t get it.
Obama’s executive order on guns is just the latest example of a spoiled president who doesn’t get his way then thinks he has the power to make it happen with a pen. If Congress doesn’t pass a law it doesn’t become a law. Executive orders are not legally binding laws. Anyone with even cursory knowledge of the Constitution knows this.
Personally, I don’t think what the president is proposing is unreasonable. Basically, he wants to require anyone selling more than 50 guns a year at a gun show to obtain a federal license and perform background checks. Most people who buy guns and gun shows already go through a background check because most people are purchasing those guns from licensed gun shops. As it stands, individuals buying weapons from other individuals at a gun show are not subject to background checks. Some call this the gun show loophole. Some Second Amendment advocates say there is no loophole. Let’s be clear. There is.
You’ll not find a more ardent supporter of your right to keep and bear arms than me. I’ve owned guns my entire adult life. I have a carry permit and I carry. However, I also have common sense. It makes no sense that some people can come into a gun show and leave with a gun without going through a background check while others cannot. Here’s what’s going to happen. Someone is going to purchase their gun at a gun show then go out and kill a bunch of folks and the left is going to scream that the gun shows should be shut down because they’re a public menace.
Why on earth would we give them that argument? Obama’s not asking anything of a gun buyer that they’re not already subject to in any gun shop in America. The problem is in the way he’s going about it. This is not a unilateral call by one person. It’s something that should be debated before Congress and voted on. Just because it doesn’t go Obama’s way doesn’t mean he has the right to make it happen with an executive order. Quite the contrary. The fact that Congress has rejected this idea is evidence that he doesn’t have the right to do it on his own.
I happen to believe that closing the gun show loophole and requiring everyone purchasing a gun to go through a background check is a good idea, but I don’t have the power to override Congress either. The question is when is somebody going to stop Obama from doing it?
But closing the gun show loophole is not going to stop the mass killings, which is ostensibly why he’s doing it. Background checks at gun shows have nothing to do with solving the problem.
I’ve laid out the solution in The Conservative’s Handbook, the second edition of which is out this week. We have to have designated defenders in schools, and we have to stop creating soft targets for crazy people. Mass killers choose locations where they know no one will shoot back. One thing has become perfectly clear in all this. We have to start shooting back.