A response to President Obama’s executive actions

February 15, 2016 05:00 PM

On Jan. 5, President Obama  introduced a series of Executive orders to increase gun control. Our Founding Fathers would be aghast.

To date, Obama has issued over 1,000 pages of Executive orders, an unprecedented amount. Executive orders are only supposed to clarify existing law, not create new ones. The Constitution clearly states that Congress makes the laws, not the President.

President Obama — a former Senior Lecturer in Constitutional law — should be well aware of this fact. When he was a U.S. Senator representing the state of Illinois, he claimed to take the Constitution very seriously. “The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with [the president] trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all,” he said. “And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m President of the United States of America.”

He repeated this in the early years of his presidency, remarking in 2010, “I am president, I am not king. I can’t do these things just by myself.”

Based on past statements, it appears that in recent years the President has knowingly overstepped his bounds.

Obama has attempted to justify his Executive order on gun control by arguing that for the sake of our country’s security, he needed to do what Congress has refused to do.  But this is the precise reason why our Founders refused to bestow the power to legislate with the President — to prevent one man, regardless of how good his intentions might be, from making rash, unilateral decisions. 

The Founders knew from experience that putting all of the country’s eggs into one basket would lead to abysmal outcomes, so they instead empowered the two-house chambers of Congress with making our laws. 

Like the majority of Congress, I believe that increasing gun control will not make us any safer, it will merely stop honest people from buying and selling firearms at the expense of everyone else, weakening the American economy at the expense of the black market economy.

That’s why in December, I introduced the Separation of Powers Restoration and Second Amendment Protection Act — to stop the President from introducing any new Executive orders on gun control, protecting the Constitution while increasing the safety and security of every law-abiding civilian in this country.

In the United States there is no link between murder rates and gun control laws. Gun control activists like President Obama often cherry pick the data to show that states with looser gun control measures also have higher murder rates. But if the President actually studied the data and ran the numbers, he would see that there is virtually no correlation between the gun ownership rate and murder rate in this country. 

The truth is that the increasing use of guns in the United States has made our country safer. Though the number of firearms in the United States has increased by more than 50% since 1993, our gun homicide rate has decreased by nearly 50%.

President Obama often refers to Australia as a gun control success story. The problem is that the statistics prove otherwise. Between 1996 and 1997, Australia gained control of over 600,000 civilian guns. The country’s murder and manslaughter rates remained the same, while its armed robbery rate actually increased by nearly 10%. In 2003, the Australian government took possession of 50,000 more firearms, but its crime statistics still hardly budged.

If the world has learned anything over the past century, government bans have not solved anything — they have only worsened the problems they intended to help.

Look at Prohibition in the 1920s. Although the ban on producing alcohol forced bars and other alcohol retailers to refrain from selling, the amount of alcohol consumed did not significantly decrease. The Cato Institute believes that consumption of alcohol would have surpassed pre-Prohibition levels had the ban not been repealed in 1933. Instead of stopping alcohol consumption, Prohibition instead led to the consumption of stronger, harder substances, while also increasing the number of homicides and violent crimes in our country.

Government bans do not work. They simply stop one set of people from selling goods at the expense of another set of people. And that is precisely what future Executive gun-grabbing will do. It will not make our country any safer, and it will not decrease Americans’ possession of guns. Instead, it will simply bankrupt legal gun retailers and traders at the expense of black market retailers. If Prohibition is any indication, it may also lead to other negative side effects, such as increasing violent crime and packing our prisons with even more non-violent offenders.

Throughout my time in the Senate, I have always stood up for every American’s Constitutional rights, including the Second Amendment. I will continue to do so, and I hope more of my colleagues will begin studying this issue and consider supporting my Separation of Powers Restoration and Second Amendment Protection Act — because regardless of where they may stand on the gun issue, one thing is for certain: They swore an oath to the Constitution, and they should  defend it.

About the Author

Kentucky Senator and GOP Presidential candidate