Over the last two years, due to his frustration with Congress, President Obama has had to bypass the legislative branch, as he did again on Wednesday, in order to implement gun control laws that are tighter.
In October of 2011, Obama said where Congress would not act, I as President will. That was part of his campaign of We Cannot Wait that was launched after the U.S. House of Representatives become Republican controlled in 2010.
Since that time, Obama has resorted to using executive orders, waivers, policy directives, signing statements amongst other administrative steps bypassing Congress to act on issues such as welfare, education reform, immigration and now gun control.
Obama, acting in response to the Newtown, Connecticut shooting rampage, announced on Wednesday 23 new executive orders designed to make sure guns do not fall into the hands of the wrong people. In addition, he has called on the new Congress to ban assault rifles, reduce the size of ammunition magazines and require checks on the purchasers’ background for all sales of guns.
Groups that support gun rights and the second amendment have accused the president of using powers that are unconstitutional. A spokesperson for Gun Owners of America said it was not appropriate that our president acts unilaterally.
Compared to some of Obama’s stronger steps taken, during the last two years, those steps he took on Wednesday seemed somewhat surgical. Most of what the president proposed will need Congresses approval. He did not issue any executive order, which remains the most formal tool any president has to pronounce policy.