Apparently Biden is recommending nineteen actions Obama should take through executive order.Â I want to talk briefly about executive orders, because there’s a lot of FUD floating around on the Internets about them.
For one, it’s not an end-run around Congress. Under the Gun Control Act, Congress has already granted authority to the executive branch to execute certain aspects of federal gun laws. The President’s power on this is, unfortunately, fairly broad, but it is not unlimited. For instance, only firearms and ammunition that are “particularly suitable for sporting purposes,” are permitted to be imported into the United States. The executive branch gets to decide what determines that.
We already likely know what some of those 19 recommendations will be because Bloomberg spent all that time and money hiring consultants to hammer them out ahead of time. They can do serious damage without any action from Congress. This is truth. But it’s not some kind of crazy power grab. We’ve benefitted, since the Gun Control Act, from having Presidents who were not that disposed to use the executive power to really screw us.
It’s a little known fact, but almost all shotguns in the United States would be classified as destructive devices except for the fact that most shotguns have been classified by the Attorney General as particularly suitable for sporting purposes. That classification can be changed. The Striker-12 was reclassified along these lines by the Clinton Administration, and is now a destructive device.
It’s quite possible that President Obama will enact sweeping and wide ranging changes to our firearms regulations and policies, and force us to spend millions of dollars suing the Administration in court over every separate issue. We could be in for a rough ride, indeed.