President Obama is expected to announce new executive orders this week that will further deteriorate American gun rights. While we won’t know the form of these actions until he clears them with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, insiders believe they will be primarily aimed at closing the “gun show loophole” by requiring more sellers to run federal background checks.
This weekend, several prominent GOP presidential candidates slammed the president for his ongoing assault on the Second Amendment.
“The so-called gun show loophole doesn’t exist,” Jeb Bush said on Fox News Sunday. “People who want to occasionally sell guns ought to have the right to do so without being impaired by the federal government.”
At a campaign in Biloxi, Bush’s arch enemy Donald Trump said, “We’re not changing the Second Amendment. I will veto that. I will unsign that so fast.”
Also appearing on Fox News Sunday, Chris Christie took exception to Obama’s use of executive action. “This president wants to act as if he’s a king, as if he’s a dictator,” said Christie. “The fact is, if he wants to make changes to these laws, go to Congress and convince them that they’re necessary. But this is going to be another illegal executive action, which I’m sure will be rejected by the courts, and when I become president will be stricken from executive action.”
Political realities dictate that Republicans oppose gun control as a matter of course, but this kind of monolithic response actually dilutes the argument. Do any of these candidates have anything original to say?
Unfortunately, we’ve reached the point where these candidates have no other choice. The Republican Party that could take an objective stance on gun control has been forced into the corner by a president who has nothing but contempt for the Second Amendment. When facing an enemy who wants to destroy one of our foundational American rights, compromise is not an option. Even Bush, who sometimes sounds like he would be more comfortable on the other side of the aisle, can see the perils of surrender on this issue.
The problem, perpetuated by Obama’s adoring media, is that Americans may begin to believe that Democrats are the only party willing to do something to stop these tragic mass shootings. Republicans have mastered the art of saying “no” to every gun control proposal, but they are not proactively seeking an alternative. Other than some vague mumblings about mental illness, they mostly seem content to shrug these massacres off as the price of liberty. As these tragedies increase in both scale and frequency, how much longer can they afford to do nothing?
To be clear: Doing nothing is far wiser than whatever Obama has up his sleeve. But in the political world, where perception outweighs reality, the first candidate who comes up with a viable alternative to gun control will do himself, his party, and the American people a great service.