President Barack Obama and his fellow progressives like to talk about “gun violence,” as if it guns themselves stroll about American cities and commit acts of violence, unassisted by human beings.
The silly term is meant to hide the obvious fact that it is indeed criminals using those guns, who comprise the problem, not the firearms acting alone. To deflect attention from terrorists, including Islamic terrorists, whom the president urgently feels must not be named, seems even more important to them.
It took the Administration days to fully admit what everyone knew: the mass shooting in San Bernardino was a terrorist attack, not the “workplace violence” they seemingly wished it were. Why wish it? The workplace violence scenario provides a choice target, better propelling their gun control agenda.
It took six long years for Mr. Obama to finally refer to the Ft. Hood shooting as a terrorist incident.
After the Paris terrorist attack and in the aftermath of the San Bernardino massacre, in an oval office address to the nation, Obama called for yet more gun control measures, urging Congress to act “to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun.” Congress rightly refused to take such action, since American citizens are added to the No-Fly List without any due process at all, as is guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment before anyone’s Second Amendment rights could be restricted.
Needing a straw man to knock down, Mr. Obama characterized his opposition (and his measure), disingenuously, “I know there are some who reject any gun safety measures.”
Nothing seems to get in the way of the president promoting gun control. Chafing under congressional resistance — and a public increasingly recognizing the need for self-defense — President Obama has since been threatening unilateral executive action. Days ago, he announced that he will meet tomorrow with Attorney General Loretta Lynch to discuss a laundry list of executive actions, which his brain trust (I use that term loosely) has been developing.
The president claims he’ll take unilateral action, “Because I get too many letters from parents, and teachers, and kids to sit around and do nothing.” Yet, recent polls show opposition to his so-called “assault weapons ban” and find more Americans (47 percent) think more people should be encouraged to carry guns, than those (42 percent) desiring “stricter gun control laws.”
Make no mistake: the executive orders he threatens to sign and implement are intended to restrict access to guns, i.e. Second Amendment rights, across the board, for everyone. Something neither he nor Congress has any right to do.
According to reports in the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, the centerpiece of his new one-man rules will be to re-define the meaning of being “engaged in the business” of selling guns, so that the Feds can force more people to register and obtain a federal license and thereby also be mandated to conduct background checks on buyers. Currently, the federal statute exempts a person “who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms” from having to be licensed.
The White House has not communicated at all with Republican leaders on Capitol Hill, but Doug Andres, a spokesman for the House Speaker, told the Washington Post in an email exchange that, “We will consider options once we have information, but what seems apparent is none of these ideas would have prevented the recent atrocities. Our focus should be on the consistent causes of these acts — mental illnesses and terrorism — rather than infringing on law-abiding Americans’ constitutional rights.”
What does this new executive order have in common with all the burdensome new laws suggested after every other mass shooting? It’s not what it will do, but what it won’t do. None of the burdensome and restrictive new gun control proposals, including the leaked new background check expansion in seeming violation of current federal law, would prevent the deadly incidents used as their justification.
The guns used by the San Bernardino terrorists were purchased legally.
“President Obama is trying to distract Americans from his failure to address the true threat of radical Islamic terrorism, and instead going after the rights of law-abiding American citizens,” commented Catherine Frazier, a spokeswoman for presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, “it is complete lunacy.”
“The gun lobby is loud and well organized in its defense of effortlessly available guns for anyone,” Obama told his radio audience. But that’s simply hyperbole, and ignores the fact that the so-called gun lobby has long urged the president to enforce existing gun laws. Indeed, numerous studies show violations of current gun laws are being prosecuted less, not more.
A new term — “Obama violence” — ought be added to the lexicon. Unlike “gun violence,” its meaning would not serve to hide reality, but to highlight the all-too-dangerous violence our current president is doing to the Constitution — to the separation of powers, the Second Amendment and the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.
As a constitutional lawyer should know, the reason we have a democratic republic is to prevent one man, unilaterally, from doing this much damage.
Paul Jacob, January 3, 2016
This column first appeared at Townhall.com.