The left is gunning for the Second Amendment yet again, and it’s time for conservatives to take a stand.
Press Secretary Jen Psaki told journalists in a press conference on March 26 that the Biden administration will issue executive action on gun control.
According to Psaki, the United States is grappling with an “epidemic” of gun violence, and she says that gun control can solve the problem.
Psaki applauded recent gun control measures, saying that “there has been progress made, we’ve seen, over the last several years. Twenty states now have extended background checks. Nineteen states have red flag laws. Seven states now have assault weapons bans. We know they work.”
According to Psaki, extended background checks, red flag laws, and bans on “assault weapons’’ are effective. The Biden administration repeatedly tells the American people to “listen to the scientists,” and so it is only appropriate that one should review the data behind these claims.
One can hardly deny that gun violence is an issue, especially in the wake of mass shootings in Atlanta, Boulder, and most recently, California. However, it is important to call into question measures brought on by knee-jerk reactions, especially when such measures endanger the liberty of the American people.
According to the Department of Justice, U.S. homicide rates have been shooting up and down since 1965. The Pew Research Center reports that in 2016, gun violence was the highest it had been since 1968. As reported by NPR, despite the many recent gun control measures since then, the U.S. murder rate skyrocketed by 13% from 2019 to 2020.
If more gun control has been passed recently, and if gun control is effective like Psaki claims, then why do murder rates continue to climb?
The only logical conclusion is that gun control is actually not effective at reducing this violent crime.
It should also be noted that Psaki’s statement reflects a serious misunderstanding of executive power, which could lead to potential overreach.
“When the president was the vice president in the Obama-Biden administration, he helped put in place 23 executive actions to combat gun violence,” she said. “It’s one of the levers that we can use, that any federal government, any president can use to help address the prevalence of gun violence and address community safety around the country.”
Describing an executive order as a simple “lever” that “any federal government, any president can use” reveals an extremely flippant disregard for the constitutional balance of power.
Despite the potential use of an executive order, President Joe Biden is still legally constrained to act in accordance with the Constitution and the will of the legislature, according to professor of politics and former Heritage Foundation fellow Joseph Postell.
“President Biden can use executive orders, just as previous presidents have done, to impose gun control regulations only insofar as the actions would be within his legal authority,” Postell said. “He cannot violate the Constitution, or any statutes passed by Congress, through executive orders. If he does issue an order that is illegal, groups will certainly sue to have the orders overturned, just as President Obama’s DACA order was overturned by a federal court.”
However, it remains possible that Congress has already made delegations of power, allowing Biden to enforce stricter gun control via executive order.
“The problem is that many laws today are written in vague terms, empowering the president to solve a big national problem. This gives presidents more leeway to use discretion to make policy,” Postell added. “Because he would be trying to fit his orders into existing laws, much of what Biden can do through executive order is piecemeal.”
The Biden Administration has promised radical gun control measures through executive action. These measures are both impractical and potentially unconstitutional. If such gun control is passed, the people will be left defenseless against a tyrannical government.
We the people, as the last sentinels of freedom, must refuse to give up our arms. Only through this act of courage can tyranny be stopped in its tracks.
Logan Washburn is a freshman studying politics.