During the CNN Town Hall on Monday, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) told the audience that after her first 100-days in office she’ll use executive action in order to strengthen the gun laws.
“Upon being elected, I will give the United States Congress 100 days to get their act together and have the courage to pass reasonable gun safety laws. And if they fail to do it, then I will take executive action,” is what the senator said after being ask by a University of New Hampshire History major student about the steps she will take in order to prevent school shootings.
Harris said the way that she will ensure the new gun safety laws work is by adding three new requirements.
The three requirements will be requiring folks who sell six guns or more to perform a background check on those they are selling the guns to; having the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to take away the license of gun dealers who break the law, and not allowing fugitives to purchase guns.
Back in 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ)
under then Attorney General Jeff Sessions removed fugitives who had not crossed state lines from the list of criminals who were prohibited from obtaining a gun.
decided to follow the ATF’s policy,
which led to 500,000 fugitives
being able to buy guns, of only prohibiting fugitives who have crossed state lines from purchasing a weapon.
The Department of Justice’s
decision is in direct contrast with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) which follows the Brady Handgun Prevention Act. The Brady Handgun Prevention Act makes it clear that no fugitive from justice shall be allowed to purchase a gun.
After the Democrats took control of the House, they passed H.R. 1112, Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019. The bill requires gun dealers to do a more thorough and extensive background check on those they are selling guns to. As it stands, however, the bill won’t go anywhere due to the Senate being control by Republicans who view the bill as placing a wedge between themselves, their base, and one of their strongest supporters, the National Rifle Association (NRA).
The use of executive power in order to put in place laws of any kind are important because it raises the questions of how much power the president should have, and if the president is using his power to make laws that only Congress can make through legislation.
This is an issue that has been given more attention due to then President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump using executive action in order to go around Congress on the issue of immigration.
In 2012, President Barack Obama got tired of Congress not moving forward on the Dream Act and decided the best way for him to handle the problems surrounding immigration was by using his executive power in order to enforce the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
DACA was the solution to the problem of finding a place for illegal immigrant children whose parents illegally crossed over the border with them.
Well, Obama is out of office. Immigration continues to be a problem. A problem, which by the way, Trump used to convince enough folks that “he and he alone” could solve to the point that those “enough folks” voted him to be the next president of the United States.
But like all things, the rubber must meet the road. And when the rubber met the road, Trump found out that he would soon be running into the same political problems as Obama did. And like Obama, Trump decided to use his executive power.
On February 15, 2019, which is also the same day he signed the spending bill to keep the government open, Trump declared a national emergency so that he could get the money he needs in order to build the wall along the Southern border.
In both instances involving the use of executive action by Obama and Trump, the opposing parties, with some on record opposition in the presidents’ parties, objected to the presidents'
use of executive authority because it was not something the parties could sell to their base.
Yeah, much of this is partisan while a very tiny, tiny bit of it is about a person’s conscience.
Therefore, just as the presidents who came before her, politics will be the main reason why a Madam President Kamala Harris will face backlash for using executive order to
strengthen the gun laws that many on the opposing side and a few within her party will view as nothing more than her pushing a political agenda.