Harris on gun control via executive order: Nevermind

President Biden had previously given indications that he was serious about passing new gun-grabbing laws and if he couldn’t get Congress to act on the matter, he might just take it into his own hands using the pen and the phone. He was even going to appoint Beto O’Rourke as his “gun control czar.” (Say… whatever happened to that guy? He’s still not part of the administration.) This was a proposal that VP Kamala Harris appeared to heartily endorse…at least until today, anyway. The subject was brought up to Harris again when she showed up on CBS This Morning. This time, the Veep seemed to walk the idea back considerably, favoring a path that would force Congress to do the dirty work for them, leaving Biden to simply sign some new measures into law. (Washington Examiner)

Vice President Kamala Harris suggested the White House might opt against taking executive action on guns, despite mounting outside pressure after two mass shootings in a week.

“We should first expect the U.S. Congress to act,” Harris told CBS This Morning during an interview on Wednesday.

Asked if President Biden would take executive action, Harris said, “I don’t think the president is excluding that, but again, I want to be clear, that if we really want something that is going to be lasting, we need to pass legislation.”

Harris, a former California Democratic senator, said she was “not willing to give up” on efforts to reach the “hearts and minds and the reason” of the evenly split upper chamber’s members.

So what happened? Did Harris get cold feet or did Uncle Joe back down and let her know she needed to walk this idea back? I suppose some advisers might have gotten through to Uncle Joe and let him know that an executive order of that nature might not make it through the challenges that would obviously follow.

The President can issue executive orders on how various policies are implemented from inside the executive branch. Biden has already broken records for issuing such orders. But those impact the actions of federal employees or members of the military in nearly all cases. There are some loopholes that come up from time to time. For example, believe it or not, the President can’t actually “ban drilling” on federal land. But he can change the policy guiding how and when drilling permits are issued, creating a de facto ban. Of course, such an action can immediately be undone the next time a president from the other party is sworn in.

Unlike drilling, the purchase and ownership of firearms by civilians takes place almost entirely in the private sector. Yes, permits and background checks are required, but entirely forbidding the sale of any specific shooting equipment isn’t in the same category as federal policy mandates.

All of our gun control laws are precisely that. They are laws that were passed by Congress. Joe Biden can neither cancel existing laws via executive order nor create new laws of his own accord. (Though some of the executive orders certainly do wind up looking and smelling like laws for a period of time.) If Biden attempted to issue an order banning the sale of particular types of weapons, he would immediately be challenged in court and wind up having to have a chat with the Supremes about a little matter known as District of Columbia v. Heller. And he probably wouldn’t enjoy the outcome.

I have to wonder if these are some of the considerations that went on behind the scenes, leading to Kamala Harris’ reversal this morning. In any event, here’s a golden oldie in honor of the veep. When she’s done trying to ban guns, perhaps she could ban violins on television.