OPINION- W.R Collier- As I see it, there are two major problems with President Obama’s Executive Actions on gun control. One affects both our second amendment rights, the right to bear arms, as well as the fourth amendment, the right to due process. The other affects our second amendment rights. Both also bring into question the separation of powers, as both actions may call on violating existing laws, and at least altering existing laws in ways that many would argue is not constitutionally allowable by executive action,
Given the fact that executive orders are considered legally binding and actions are not, some may argue that these actions have no real teeth to them (see below for a difference between Executive Orders and Executive Actions).
1. It is super easy to report anyone as mentally unfit, then it places the burden of proof on the accused.
This is proposed in the President’s Executive Actions commanding Doctors to report people that they deem to be mentally unfit. This will cause a number of unintended consequences. It will cause people to avoid medical, even mental health care. It will create a serious trust wedge between doctors and their patients. It might actually be in violation of current HIPPA laws. It empowers the government to abuse the rights of citizens by creating ever changing definitions of what mental health actually is. For instance, in Soviet Russia, they deemed anyone who disapproved of the state as being mentally unfit.
2. It makes it impossible for a private individual to sell a firearm, thus gutting the private gun market.
The President’s Executive Action requiring anyone selling a gun to get an FFL licence, rather than simply requiring they go through an FFL dealer, could, theoretically, prevent the simple trading of guns between gun owners, the handing off of guns from one family member to another, the non-business gun owner who is selling a gun because they might need cash, or they might want to get a different gun. This XO also may be in violation of current law that actually has a very specific definition of what a gun selling business is, despite the claims by the XO that the definition is vague.
These measures will empower bureaucrats to take away gun rights, they will do nothing other than that. We do need mental health screening, but we also need due process, and the burden of proof needs to be on the accuser, not the accused.
We can have background checks for every gun sale. We can simply require all sales to be processed through a licensed gun dealer, it is a $10 fee. The seller takes the gun to a dealer, the buyer gets their background check, the dealer give the gun to the buyer.
As for gun shows, the same thing already applies. The gun show host must ensure there are enough FFL holders to conduct background checks to gun sales. So private people can sell the guns without hassle, but everyone who buys a gun goes through a background check.
Obama did not propose reasonable measures, instead he opened the door to make millions of Americans afraid of being reported anonymously by a healthcare provider and losing their rights, then having to prove their mental fitness. Instead of making sure everyone goes through a background check, Obama wants a rule that can be interpreted to simply end the private gun market altogether.
Actions, as we all know, are more important than words. These are the actions of a man who is committed to ending the right to bear arms, they are not designed to merely provide for mental health screening and ensure that all gun buyers go through a background check. As my brother Paul said, gun control is merely people control, and that is exactly what these executive orders are designed to do, control the liberty, the fundamental right to bear arms, of the people.
While some may support gun control, and approve of these actions, remember that the precedent that one President sets may empower the next President, one who does not believe as you do, to violate your rights in the same way that you may be supporting this President violating others’ rights because you happen to agree with his position on guns. To the degree that the Federal government remains complicit in these actions, our liberty is under assault.
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Here is a good definition of the differences between an executive action and an executive order:
An executive order is a directive issued to federal agencies, department heads, or other federal employees by the President of the United States under his statutory or constitutional powers. It is similar to written orders that might be issued by a President of a corporation. Executive orders have the weight of law behind them.
An executive action is, according to this administration, “something the executive branch does. The use of any of a number of tools in the executive branch’s toolbox.”
Constitutional scholars consistently say that executive actions carry no legal weight. They are easily cancelled either by the courts or by legislation passed by congresss.
Executive orders are legally binding and published in the Federal Register. Executive actions are not.