Wednesday, January 16, 2013

President Obama’s executive orders on guns might doom a big bill

When President Obama unveils the recommendations from a White House-led task force on how to curb gun violence in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings later Wednesday, the package of proposals is expected to include a series of executive orders.
If you want a “big” (read: broad/comprehensive) bill to get through Congress, that’s almost certainly a bad thing. Here’s why.
President Obama will unveil his proposals to curb gun violence on Wednesday.
The practical reality of the executive order options before President Obama — he is, reportedly considering as many as 19 — is that the vast majority of actions he can take are relatively minor in nature. As the Post’s Wonkblog noted Tuesday: “It’s unlikely that Obama can significantly alter gun laws through executive order.”
Of course, the reality of what Obama can do via executive order and the perception of his using executive privilege to alter (or re-enforce) laws are two very different things. And it’s the perception that Obama has to worry about.
If he does make good on all 19 executive orders (or, really, anything in double digits) Republicans will immediately cry foul, insisting that Obama is trying to run our democracy like a dictatorship.
Democrats may roll their eyes at this tactic but remember that there is a major strain of thinking in the country — among Republicans and even some independents — that the ultimate goal for President Obama is to take away everyone’s guns.