In 2007, a U.S. senator appearing on CNN’s Larry King show excoriated then-President George W. Bush for his “tendency … to try to hide behind executive privilege.” To be sure, Bush 43 set a record for executive orders, issuing 78 in his eight years in the Oval Office. That record might still be standing if Bush’s successor – who coincidentally was that very same senator who bellyached to King – hadn’t bested him by half, and in just four years.
But today, President Barack Obama outdid even himself, MailOnline reports. He affixed his John Hancock to 23 executive orders – twice as many as FDR signed in 12 years – in a single sitting! Chalk one up for unmitigated gall and unparalleled hypocrisy.
“We can’t put this off any longer,” Obama said by way of explanation for his unprecedented power grab. “When it comes to protecting the most vulnerable among us, we must act now.”
He then proceeded to sign executive actions on measures ranging from universal background checks on all gun buyers to a renewed ban on “military-style” assault weapons to a 10-round limit on ammunition magazines. The full list follows:
- Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
- Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.
- Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
- Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
- Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
- Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
- Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
- Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
- Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
- Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.
- Nominate an ATF director.
- Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.
- Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
- Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
- Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies
- Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
- Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
- Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
- Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
- Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
- Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.
- Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
- Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.
He followed up with a gesture of exaggerated humility, claiming:
The 23 executive actions I’m announcing today in no way substitute for action from members of Congress.
But then he quickly reverted to vintage Obama, adding:
This will be difficult. There will be pundits, politicians and special interest lobbyists warning of a tyrannical, all-out assault on liberty. Not because that’s true, but because they want to gin up fear or higher ratings or revenue for themselves. And behind the scenes they will do everything they can to block any commons-sense reforms.
It didn’t take long for the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre to take the bait, circulating copies of a fund-raising letter at 35th annual Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show and Conference in Las Vegas. The letter read in part:
I warned you this day was coming and now it’s here, It’s not about protecting your children. It’s not about stopping crime. It’s about banning your guns … PERIOD!
Howard Portnoy has written for HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, and The George Espenlaub Show.
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