In an article called “What Everybody Needs to Know About Our Constitution and Gun Control,” Juan Williams of FOX News writes:
Gun control is completely consistent with the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. And President Obama is on target with the great American tradition of proposing gun control laws for Congressional approval as well as by issuing executive orders on gun control.
The only opinion that matters here is the Supreme Court’s opinion. And the high court has ruled, several times, that the president, the Congress, state and local government all have the power to regulate guns.
So we discover at the very beginning of this article that “what everybody needs to know about our Constitution and gun control” is precisely nothing. All that matters is what the infallible Supreme Court has said on the subject. According to Williams’ argument, there is in fact no need to know anything about the Constitution at all.
As for executive orders, Williams writes:
Article II of the U.S. Constitution clearly grants Obama and any other president the authority and the discretion to issue executive orders with the force of law over the sale of guns and ammunition.
“Clearly”? Williams might say Article II suggests that Obama has this power (and even here he’d be wrong), but come on — clearly?
In Section 1 of Article II, Clause 1 vests executive power in the president. Regulating firearm ownership was not considered an inherent executive power in the eighteenth-century context in which the Constitution was drafted.
Clauses 2, 3, and 4 deal with the selection of electors.
Clause 5 says only natural-born citizens are eligible to serve as president.
Clause 6 deals with what is to happen if the president dies while in office, etc.
Clause 7 deals with his salary.
Clause 8 deals with the oath he has to take.
Section II, Clause 1 declares the president to be the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
Clause 2 covers the making of treaties.
Clause 3 deals with filling vacancies during the Senate’s recess.
Section III reads: “He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.”
Finally, Section IV deals with impeachment.
In what you have just read, Juan Williams finds “clear” authority to issue executive orders, circumventing Congress, on issues pertaining to firearm ownership. Do you find it?
Williams concludes by citing three presidents who issued executive orders involving guns. Once again, the Constitution is omitted. Three presidents have done this, so it just has to be constitutional. I mean, you wouldn’t actually be opposed to three presidents, would you?