So now we wait…
Executive Actions are different from Executive Orders, and not in semantics only. One is a blueprint for the President’s agenda, the other is a potential violation of the Constitution’s separation of powers. We elect a President to lead, to set a tone and direction for the country. We elect a Congress to craft the laws that govern the country.
Of all the points in the President’s speech, on the surface, there is little to rationally argue about, and this statement is coming from someone who has railed against the futility of passing more laws in an attempt to curb gun violence.
As has been said and as the President said, many if not most responsible gun owners do not have a problem with strengthening background checks. The same goes for strengthening the enforcement and prosecution of violators of our existing laws on gun purchasing.
To come out at this juncture and vow to fight the proposed ban on “military style assault weapons” is premature only because we need to see the full text of this proposal for the definitions it will contain. How are military style weapons to be defined? In the expired assault weapons ban, it was very clear standard handguns like a Glock 17 were not part of the ban. The reason for the question is the President didn’t say assault rifles, he said assault weapons. Again, more than a matter of semantics, potentially.
Similiarly, arguing against bans on magazines that hold ten or more rounds needs to wait. Is this section worded as the President said, which leaves the interpretation that all magazines that hold ten or more rounds will be banned? That means the Glock 17 will be banned as it is so named because it holds seventeen rounds.
There were other proposals that are actually cause for joy, on all sides. More school resource officers for those districts that want them is something I’ve written about before and wholeheartedly support. In fact, in the thirty-three days since the tragedy that sparked this national debate, schools and districts, communities and towns all across the country have already implemented or are in the process of implementing programs to have professional, armed and trained security officers on school grounds. The variety of programs perfectly reflect the various communities in which they exist, as it should be. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, and the right of each school or district to tailor the response in accordance with the wishes and needs of it’s population is as it should be.
Another of the President’s points was to address the need for more police. This is another area in which there can be no rational argument against, yet there are many questions unanswered, starting with funding. Municipalities across the country are as broke as the Federal Government, so while it is an accepted fact that more police are needed, the very real and difficult problem of how these expanded forces will be funded is unaddressed, at least in the few sentences the President used.
There were a few points, however, where the President was disengenious and misleading. His quoting of the figure of nine hundred deaths just in the past weeks by gun violence does not differentiate two of the biggest and most important parts of the equation that make up that number. How many of that nine hundred were deaths caused by military style assault weapons? How many were by handgun? And most importantly, how many were by legally owned and registered firearms and by the legal owner of those firearms?
When the President mentioned Chicago, he both lost credibility for this issue as well as gave fodder to the extremists and conspiracy theorists. As we all know, here in Chicago the problem is not military style assault weapons being purchased, bartered or owned by those who may or may not have passed a background check. Here, the problem is criminals with no legal right to possess a weapon of any kind. Perhaps the Executive Action, the call for Congress to expand police forces may have an impact. Nothing else the President said or proposed will have any effect on the murder capital of the country also known as Chicago.
Of course, exactly what is in those twenty three Executive Actions or Orders remains to be seen. I’ll wait to read the texts.