If this sounds familiar, it’s because Obama took the same attitude towards executive amnesty. Either Congress could give him what he wanted by legalizing illegals or he’d give himself what he wanted by legalizing illegals unilaterally. The president no longer loses in our system of (giggle) separation of powers, at least if he has a complacent caucus from his own party in Congress that’s willing to defend him on every power grab at their branch’s expense. Hillary’s building on that precedent now, in the middle of a surprisingly tough primary campaign, to stroke one of the few political erogenous zones that excites the left more than open borders does.
Hillary embracing gun control is a bit like Jeb Bush embracing Dubya’s legacy. There’s a lot of potential downside in the general election and comparatively little upside, but in the primary that calculus is reversed. Besides, if Hillary’s destined to be attacked as a gun-grabber in the general no matter what she does, just as Jeb is destined to be attacked as running for 43’s third term, they might as well embrace those images and earn some brownie points from their own side in the process.
The proposal most likely to generate controversy is using executive action to close the so-called gun show loophole, if efforts to pass new measures in Congress do not succeed, according to a campaign aide to Mrs. Clinton, who asked for anonymity to lay out the plans before the candidate does…
A central issue in Mrs. Clinton’s proposals are the background checks on prospective gun buyers, which are required for retailers at stores. But under federal law, they are not required at gun shows or over the Internet with private sellers.
Under Mrs. Clinton’s plan, she would use administrative powers to make anyone selling a substantial number of guns declared “in the business” of firearms dealing, and subject to the same rules as retailers, if Congress does not act, according to the campaign aide.
It was not immediately clear what the bar for being declared “in the business” would be.
When was the last time a degenerate responsible for a mass shooting used the alleged “gun-show loophole” to buy his murder weapon? The nut in Oregon owned 14 guns, every one of which turned out to be traceable to a federal firearms dealer. To the extent that today’s Hillary proposal is designed to capitalize on public horror over yet another massacre on an American campus, it’s an exercise in “gesture liberalism,” a feelgood do-something measure that doesn’t actually address a major problem. In fact, even the way this supposed problem is framed is a lie: As many of you already know, the “gun-show loophole” that supposedly allows anyone to sell an arsenal of weapons to a buyer without a background check is nothing of the sort. Where the sale occurs doesn’t matter, as Sean Davis explains. Whether at a gun show or anywhere else, if you’re selling weapons to the public repetitively and in any kind of volume, you’re a dealer for purposes of the law and are required to perform a check of the buyer. The “loophole” that permits sales without a background check effectively only covers sales between two private individuals who live in the state and only if the seller isn’t selling guns regularly. Think “dad selling his pistol to his son,” not “guy in a booth selling AR-15s to dozens of strangers at a gun show.”
Again, though: As with the “assault weapons” ban, this is less about Democrats trying to solve a glaring problem than about (a) signaling to the left that they’re on the team and (b) moving the Overton window, however marginally, towards greater federal regulation of guns. Which raises a good question from Greg Sargent. If Hillary thinks this is worth doing as president, even if just to polish her liberal cred, how come President Overreach hasn’t done it already himself? As for the broader politics of this, put me down with Drew McCoy as favoring anyone in the upcoming House GOP elections for Speaker and majority leader who has a strategy for restoring Congress as a check on the executive and is willing to speak up in favor of it. That’s the Overton window that desperately needs moving. It won’t be easy.