Barack Obama left for his Christmas vacation promising to use his executive authority to increase restrictions on gun sales, part of his response to the terrorist attack in San Bernardino. To that end, he met last week with Michael Bloomberg, the anti-gun activist billionaire, to consult on potential regulatory steps, even though Obama’s public proposals thus far would have had no impact on either the terrorists in that attack or the shooters in previous attacks. The White House has let it be known that action in the form of executive orders were “weeks not months” away.
In response, Rand Paul has reintroduced a bill that would kneecap any EOs by rendering them “advisory” until approved by Congress. Perhaps more importantly, the bill would grant legal standing for anyone impacted by the EOs — including members of Congress — to file suit to block them (via Guns.com):
“In the United States, we do not have a king, but we do have a Constitution. We also have the Second Amendment, and I will fight tooth and nail to protect it,” Paul said in a statement on Monday.
The legislation is currently being fast-tracked through the Senate. It’s expected to be placed on the Senate calendar next month once lawmakers return to Washington from their recess. No vote has currently been scheduled.
The legislation would also allow for any state official, member of Congress or person affected by an executive action on gun control to launch a civil lawsuit.
It’s a good idea, and Paul has several good reasons to put himself at the head of this effort. He represents Kentucky, where a number of firearms manufacturers operate, and where gun rights are high on the list of voter priorities. He’s also a libertarian by nature, and especially opposed to the use of executive authority when it crosses over into legislative jurisdiction. This is a fight Paul wants, not just because of any ancillary political benefits that might accrue, but because this is the kind of fight for which he ran for Senate in the first place.
The problem, and the limitation that Paul faces in this effort, is that it will take Barack Obama’s signature to make this bill law. That might have worked if Paul could have gotten the language into the omnibus spending bill — and that might have provided at least some consolation to conservatives angry over that outcome, too. Now Paul will either have to find a bill that Obama can’t veto to which he can attach this as an amendment, or set it up for an inevitable veto. There is no chance of getting an override on this; Democrats might try to get 41 votes to block it from a vote at all. It’s too bad, because it is a very good legislative answer to the executive overreach Obama has publicly promised, but the only real solution to this is to make sure a Republican replaces Obama in 2017.
Republicans need to replace a couple of officials in Virginia, too. The state’s Attorney General will sever carry-permit reciprocity with 25 states in an attempt to act tough on guns, according to the Washington Post:
Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) plans to announce Tuesday that Virginia will no longer recognize concealed carry handgun permits from 25 states that have reciprocity agreements with the commonwealth.
The move also means Virginians with a history of stalking, drug dealing or inpatient mental-health treatment cannot obtain a permit in a state with comparatively lax laws and carry a handgun legally at home.
Herring said severing the out-of-state agreements can prevent people who may be dangerous or irresponsible from carrying a concealed weapon.
“To me, this is a commonsense step that can help make Virginians and our law enforcement officers safer by ensuring that Virginia’s laws on who can and cannot carry a concealed handgun are applied evenly, consistently, and fairly,” he said in a statement provided to The Washington Post.
The list of severed agreements includes my state of Minnesota, as well as almost every state within easy reach of Virginia except for West Virginia. I’m not sure about the laws in other states, but Minnesota requires both eight hours of training, range qualification, and the normal background checks to get a carry permit for a five-year period. The differences between our standards and those in Virginia might be in the potential disqualifying events, but if so, they would have to be minor at best.
This does fall within the prerogative of the states, as there is no national reciprocity requirement, but the Virginia state legislature might have an issue with this kind of executive order, too. So might Virginia gun owners when they realize what “reciprocity” means to them, as our colleague Bob Owens explains at Bearing Arms:
Virginians with concealed carry permits are going to soon see most, if not all of the 25 states targeted by Herring rescind their arrangements, so that Virginia’s carry permits are recognized in only six states instead of 30—only one of which is nearby—rendering the permit essentially useless for thousands who live near Virginia’s borders and commute into other states for work or recreation.
Virginians are learning the hard way this morning that the Party of Tyranny has a laser-like focus on removing the rights of citizens at every turn. Perhaps they’ll be a little smarter the next time they go the ballot box, because elections do have dire consequences.
Herring’s unilateral decision serves to stress the importance of a national concealed carry reciprocity act, a concept supported by the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, the National Rifle Association (NRA). There are numerous bills in the House and Senate pushing for national concealed carry reciprocity which should now be fast-tracked to protect the rights of concealed carriers from spiteful petty tyrants like Herring and his liege, carpetbagging Clinton crony governor Terry McAuliffe.
The push for a national reciprocity mechanism would probably also provide some incentives for consistency between the states too, which is the red herring for Herring in this case. The actual intent is to posture about “doing something” on gun violence, while the actual impact of this move will only mean that law-abiding citizens will have more restrictions that violent malefactors will continue to ignore. In that sense, there is plenty of reciprocity between Herring, McAuliffe, and Obama.