Gun control via executive order?

One more item from CNN’s Night of a Thousand Presidential Candidates yesterday. Among her various “moderate” proposals, California Senator Kamala Harris (D) made sure to get in a pitch for gun control and what she planned to do about it if elected. The basic principles she was pushing for were nothing new among Democrats. More background checks, closing “loopholes” and bans on “assault rifles” were all on the table. But Harris offered a bit of a twist. She pledged that if Congress didn’t do anything about this in the first 100 days of her presidency, she’d take matters into her own hands and solve the matter via executive order. (NY Times)

Senator Kamala Harris of California, the former prosecutor who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, on Monday committed to a host of executive actions to implement gun control measures that have long failed to pass in Congress.

At a town hall hosted by CNN, Ms. Harris said that, if elected, she would sign an executive order mandating background checks for customers of any firearms dealer who sells more than five guns a year. The executive actions would also include more strident regulation of gun manufacturers that could result in revoked licenses or prosecution, as well as an attempt to close the loophole that allows some domestic abusers to purchase guns if their victim is an unwedded partner.

“There are people in Washington, D.C., supposed leaders,” Ms. Harris said on CNN Monday evening, “who have failed to have the courage to reject a false choice which suggests you’re either in favor of the second amendment or you want to take everyone’s guns away.”

Harris was invoking the usual straw man that’s regularly kicked around by Democrats. You see, she’s not opposed to the Second Amendment. (Perish the thought!) And she’s not pushing for a bunch of “gun control.” She just wants to implement “reasonable gun safety laws.” (Using the phrase “gun safety” has become the latest code word for gun control or gun confiscation advocates who don’t want to scare off their potential voters.) And, of course, the second thing out of her mouth was the “assault rifle” ban.

As I said above, none of this is particularly unique among liberals. What’s different is the promise to enact such things via the phone and the pen. I thought that Democrats all agree that ruling by executive order is a bad thing, don’t they? (At least for the last two years anyway. They were pretty quiet when Barack Obama was doing it.) That’s certainly what they said about President Trump’s travel ban, border wall construction funding and nearly everything else he’s suggested.

It’s a pattern that’s been repeating for quite a while now. Everyone hates executive orders until their party takes power again. But if there’s any good news to come out of this, the minority response is already established and set in stone. As soon as a president picks up the pen for such a purpose, opponents file a lawsuit and get a judge to issue an injunction until the matter can be heard in court. If it’s a conservative president, they take the issue to San Francisco. If it’s a liberal president they’ll go look for a judge in Texas. And then we wait while the appeals process plays out.

Still, I wouldn’t put it past Harris or most of the Democratic 2020 hopefuls to try to implement a gun ban via executive order. It’s just one more reason that none of them should be allowed within sniffing distance of the Oval Office.