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Friday, January 11, 2013

Vice President Joe Biden says White House hell bent on new gun regulation...even using executive order

Vice President Joe Biden met with a group of gun rights activists yesterday to discuss how the country can do something about gun violence.  As the meeting was going on another shooting occurred in a high school in California but fortunately ended with no deaths but at least two were wounded.  The shooter is in custody and is believed to be a student and they think he was armed with a shotgun.  One of the victims was a student.

Hopefully they interrupted the meeting to update the Vice President with this latest news of yet another shooting at a school that could have turned into a disaster.  And from what I can gather so far, James R. Baker, the NRA’s top lobbyist will represent that organization.  So where is the loud mouth wacky Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s top gun nut?  As usual he is afraid of any type of confrontation where he doesn’t have complete control.

CNN reports, “President Barack Obama is exploring executive orders to help prevent mass shootings in America, Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday.”  Biden is also looking into shortfalls in the mental health system that lead to some gun violence.  Also involved in these meetings is a somewhat reluctant Wal-Mart, who just happens to be the nation’s largest seller of guns and ammunition.  The results of the meeting should be available later Thursday or early Friday.


FDR signs executive order for
Japanese interment camps

The keywords so far are “executive order.”  Executive orders have been issued by Presidents since the late 1700s and are often attached to legislation already in effect.  Actually, there is no Constitutional provision allowing executive orders but there is a “vague” grant of “executive power” given to the President.  That gives an executive order the full force of the law.  This action does not come without criticism but to date U.S. courts have only overturned 2 executive orders.

According to Wikipedia, “a Congressional override of an executive order is a nearly impossible event due to the supermajority vote required and the fact that such a vote leaves individual lawmakers very vulnerable to political criticism.”  Since we do not yet know what the White House has in mind re. this move, there is no way to predict what it will do.  There is also the possibility that the president, through Joe Biden’s announcement, is a challenge to get Congress off its duff.   

In researching executive order, I came across an interesting “vesting” clause in the Constitution that is different from the regular one giving executive order.  This vesting clause is different in that it is plenary, implying the power of the executive may fall in line with what other "executives" around the world at the time could do, whereas the other clause is subject to limits.  Not sure how this might apply to the current situation but maybe some legal eagles can provide insight.

First, the outcome of Thursday’s meeting between Biden and gun rights advocates.  It will be interesting if the NRA performs as many have predicted with the same tired clich├ęs that the public is completely fed up with.  If so, it shouldn’t be hard to convince the American people to jump on the gun control bandwagon, and if the Republican Congress, and some Democrats, don’t fall in line, fire the bums!

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