The Corner

Executive Action on Guns

It’s all speculation right now, but reportedly the president is considering 19 executive actions on gun control. Many of the ideas floating around are good ones, or at least benign ones, though there’s a separate question of where the line is between legitimate executive action and usurping the powers of Congress. The Obama administration is quite a fan of ignoring laws it doesn’t like.

From Politico:

The executive actions could include giving the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authority to conduct national research on guns, more aggressive enforcement of existing gun laws and pushing for wider sharing of existing gun databases among federal and state agencies, members of Congress in the meeting said.

We can all support the enforcement of existing laws, which after all is one of the main jobs of the executive branch. Better data sharing is a good idea too.

The research-initiative idea should be scrapped though, though. Given that gun control has been studied to death already (and given how few solid findings we have to show for it), I don’t think there’s much to gain here. Also, such an initiative would probably require funding from Congress and could fall victim to political pressure.

Mother Jones recently published a list of 14 steps the administration could take without Congress, and it contains a few other worthwhile endeavors. These including appointing a full-time ATF director, cracking down on illegal attempts to buy guns, having manufacturers (rather than dealers) keep records on which individual buys which gun, and improving anti-trafficking efforts. 

If the president is smart, he will avoid turning the fight over gun control into a fight over executive power, as he will need votes from some House Republicans to get anything substantial passed. Then again, he’s gotten away with executive overreach in the past. He might very well decide to forgo the possibility of passing anything from Congress, and see what he can manage on his own.

Most Popular


The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More