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John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

If Obama uses a so-called Executive Order to change the rules for gun ownership, the results will almost certainly not be what he intends.

America has many levels of jurisdiction and a good many local police and sheriffs and prosecutors, people who owe no political loyalty to the President, likely will simply refuse to enforce “the law.”

Executive Orders are a comparatively modern expansion of presidential authority, and many Americans don’t rebel against them only because they are generally used for matters that do not so directly affect individuals.

America’s Constitution clearly requires a new law to pass both houses of Congress and to be signed by the President.

Using Executive Orders is akin to saying a new law needs only the President’s signature.

Few Americans would agree, and virtually no gun-owning Americans would agree.

Attempts to enforce such an order with federal officials will not have a happy outcome in many instances. There simply aren’t enough of them to do anything but selective, spotty enforcement.

And since we are dealing with a presumed Constitutional right – although it is arguable whether the Second Amendment gives such a right – federal officials will be challenged in attempted enforcement.

It is hard for outsiders to understand the complexities and rather chaotic nature of American government, but they are a real part of the country’s fabric.

An elected Prime Minister is close to being an elected dictator under the parliamentary party system.

But an elected American President has remarkably little power in domestic affairs. The Constitution was deliberately designed that way. He does have substantial powers in military affairs by virtue of being designated as Commander-in-Chief.

I fear an Executive Order along these lines could be a very dangerous path for Obama to take. America already is a highly divided and angry place.

I really do not understand why he keeps coming back to it.

Yes, of course, he is right about gun violence in America, but not only does he not have legal authority to solve it by himself, he has no moral authority, having established a murderous record as President.

He has killed, or is killing, people in half a dozen lands without any pretence of legality.

He runs a junta-like system for “disappearing” people with no charges, due process, or legal representation. And he has killed thousands that way.

He also has troops in a number of countries on missions that are not well defined or understood, and he winks at the filthy work of Turkey and Saudi Arabia and Israel in Syria.

He never says a thing about Israel’s unending suppression of millions and its periodic mass killings, as in Gaza.

He is totally a creature of the CIA and Pentagon.

So why does he insist on this?

He is a very strange and unpleasant man. Perhaps he just feels guilty.

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