Executive orders and gun control

Discussion in 'Legal' started by orpington, Mar 26, 2021.

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  1. orpington

    orpington Member

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    First, this is not meant to be political.

    This thread is created because I still do not understand what an “executive order” is. Supposedly, President Biden is going to issue soon an executive order relative to gun control.

    I don’t even recall executive orders being discussed when I was in high school which makes me suspect they are newer. I always thought the House and Senate had to agree on things and the President could veto something, but I didn’t think the President could just mandate something randomly???

    So, what’s to prevent an executive order making all guns illegal? Or ammunition illegal, etc?

    While we are at it, why does some legislation require 50 Senate votes to pass, the Vice President casting a vote to break a tie? And, why does some require 60 votes, and how would it be that something like gun control might require a 60 vote majority to pass instead of 50 votes?

    I apologize in advance for these questions but I have a shaky grasp of these concepts. I don’t recall sleeping through 8th Grade, but I guess I must have. Conversely, I am so disinterested in politics that the only thing that really gets my attention politically, is gun control.
     
  2. alfsauve

    alfsauve Member

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    Filibuster. In the senate if several Senators start a filibuster (non stop monologue) just before the vote is called on a bill the filibuster can only be stopped by a) withdrawing the bill from the Senate or b) by a vote of 60 Senators to stop the filibuster. Gun control is one of the issues that will garner a filibuster.

    Technically the 60 votes isn't voting on the bill it's voting to end the filibuster.
     
  3. Ru4real

    Ru4real Member

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    Executive orders are not laws. They simply direct federal agencies (and often the federal agencies ignore them, see President Trump).

    Don’t sweat it. It will be a PR move, nothing more. The fact that he might issue an executive order says a lot about his pull. He doesn’t have any.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2021
  4. Barr

    Barr Member

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    An EO is a directive or direction to enforce or interpret a law. It cannot create a law.
     
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  5. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    The Executive Actions we have seen have the most effect on gun-related issues have to do with restricting imports from certain countries.

    Clinton heavily restricted small arms and ammo imports from China in the wake of Tianenmen Square and those restrictions have remained in place.

    Obama restricted certain firearms/ammunition imports from Russia as punishment for some of their actions in the Ukraine and those restrictions have remained in place.

    As far as making new laws--that's not the way it works. But in terms of things like import restrictions, a lot can be done by executive action.
     
  6. milsurpguy

    milsurpguy member

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    Yeah obama blocked importation of Russian guns. So Russian gun manufacturers moved here.
    I love when a not so well thought out plan blows up in their face.
     
  7. guyfromohio

    guyfromohio Member

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    I believe that something like pistol braces would be vulnerable to an EO since the executive controls the BATF and braces have been subject to interpretation. I believe that something like AWB, Magazine Restrictions, or UBC, would be fundamental changes and would require votes.

    That being said, this wouldn’t be the first president to issue overreaching EOs and wait for the courts to sort them out.
     
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  8. orpington

    orpington Member

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    So, if Executive Orders are not law and really don’t mean anything, why even have them at all? My guess: It’s so the President can say he’s addressing this, as in “I’ve got it taken care of “, look like he’s doing something, and appease his base. “Well done, now re-elect me”. So, the gullible American public thinks, wow, he’s really doing his job, and enacting gun control. I can say that, as I think I was gullible enough, until now, to think the President could enact his own sort of gun control. However, I was not falling for the part about that he’s actually doing his job, as there are MANY other issues out there that require addressing before gun control.

    I do feel a bit better about this, after reading the responses so far. I think the founding fathers created a system where one individual cannot be the all and powerful. A system of checks and balances that seems to be working, so far...
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2021
  9. tomrkba

    tomrkba Member

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    EO’s can NEVER exceed statute. For example, an EO cannot declare that a semiauto gun is a full auto gun because NFA 1934 defines what a full auto gun is.
     
  10. Barr

    Barr Member

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    Best way to think of EO is temporary. Every new president overturn 25-50% of the last one’s EO.
     
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  11. DrDeFab

    DrDeFab Member

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    Many executive orders are just posturing, but I definitely wouldn't dismiss them all as if they "really don't mean anything."

    The Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order. One of FDR's 3,721 executive orders authorized the Japanese internment camps, another prohibited most gold ownership for 40 years.

    It's worth doing more reading on the subject. Wikipedia certainly isn't the last word on the topic, but it's not the worst place to start: Executive order - Wikipedia
     
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  12. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    Things like Executive Orders, regulations, and administrative rulings fill in the details when the underlying law is not clear. For example, the Gun Control Act of '68 provided that a semiautomatic gun that is "readily convertible" to automatic fire is a machine gun. What exactly "readily convertible" is, is not clear. (Some court cases have even held that up to 8 hours' work in a fully equipped machine shop qualifies as "readily convertible.")

    The Bump Stock ban was based on this rationale.

    The "nightmare scenario," from the point of view of gun owners, is that the Biden administration could decide that all AR-15's are "readily convertible" to FA. (Which, in truth, they are.) This is something that could have been done back in 1968, under the newly-enacted GCA. It wasn't done because the AR-15 had already been approved under prior law, and because Colt and the NRA had a lot of influence. Today, overturning 50 years of administrative precedent would not be easy, but it could be done if they are determined to do so.

    I might add that the mere threat of such an executive action would probably prod Congress to pass legislation addressing the issue.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2021
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  13. Barr

    Barr Member

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    The AR15 “ban” would likely not hold water, too many arms have been manufactured and distributed to the masses w great popularity.

     
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  14. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    They DO mean something. And they DO carry the weight of law, they just have certain limitations.
    It maybe didn't go exactly as they planned, but it will push prices up--remember it's all about making guns more expensive and harder to get. Over time, this accomplishes a lot.
    Which means that 50% to 75% stay in place.

    Clinton's executive action restricting small arms/ammo imports from China is still in place--and it was enacted almost 30 years ago.
    H. Bush's executive action restricting import of certain semi-automatic firearms is still in place from over 30 years ago.

    They can be undone more easily than laws can, but they can also be left in place indefinitely.
     
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  15. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    You are certainly correct that it would be a political hot potato.

    However, think of this proposed administrative action as an opening gambit. If all AR-15's were redefined as machine guns, the Hughes Amendment would not allow them to be registered as legal machine guns, and so this would be an absolute ban (with no compensation). At that point, it would be inevitable that Congress would get involved, and the resultant legislation could blow the whole thing (the gun control system in this country) wide open. Plenty of room for both sides to make sausage.
     
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  16. illinoisburt

    illinoisburt Member

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    GCA68 essentially shut off importation with an exception for items deemed by the executive branch to have sporting purposes. It would be fairly easy to use an EO to laundry list a bunch of firearms, ammunition, and parts/accessories as non-sporting and therefore not importable. Simple and likely hold up forever as previous EOs have stayed in place. Would have a dramatic impact given how much of what we buy these days are made overseas. Although it created a stir and was not enacted a couple years ago, a quick redefinition of armor piercing ammunition could easily be done as well. I think other restrictions on domestic items would be challenging without new legislation, though that doesn't mean existing regulations cannot be re-interpreted by agencies under executive control.
     
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  17. George P

    George P member

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    So how did one stop the Keystone Pipeline, a private enterprise on private land?
     
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  18. rbernie
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    rbernie Contributing Member

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    The pipeline crosses the Canada/US border and therefore a permission slip is needed from the Goobermint.
     
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  19. P89DCSS

    P89DCSS Member

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    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/keystone-xl-pipeline-halted-as-biden-moves-to-cancel-permit

     
  20. DeepSouth
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    DeepSouth Contributing Member

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    An EO can absolutely create rules that are enforced by government imposed penalties.
    Many will say “he/it can’t do that!” At which point a suite is filed and eventually SCOTUS gets to decide if it remains, until the next president at which point they may decided he can’t undo it.

    Good example is Obama’s executive actions on immigration, the ones HE said couldn’t legally do, then he did them, then SCOTUS agreed.

    Bottom line is the only thing an executive order can’t do is up to the court, and that’s obviously a roll of the dice.
     
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  21. JeffG

    JeffG Member

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    Interesting, if not little frightening so far. Gun ownership is pretty entrenched in the US. I hope that carries some weight.

    "Estimates vary as to how many of the (AR 15) rifles are owned in the United States. The National Shooting Sports Foundation has estimated that approximately 5 million to 10 million AR-15 style rifles exist in the U.S. within the broader total of the 300 million firearms owned by Americans."
     
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  22. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    Both of which were authorized by underlying legislation.
     
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  23. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    Note well -- THR Legal Forum Guidelines: Read Before Posting:

    A number of posts which were not appropriately supported have been deleted. Please stay on track.
     
  24. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    An executive order is:
     
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  25. HankB

    HankB Member

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    If memory serves me right. FDR's first attempt at gold ownership prohibition was initially thwarted since there was no authorizing legislation in effect. The Congress promptly enacted such legislation, and FDR's executive order THEN had the force of law . . . though actual prosecutions were rare.

    A couple of rotary-magazine shotguns were redefined to be NFA items back in 1994 ( Street Sweeper, Stryker) by bureaucratic "finding" but IIRC these were imports and were redefined as destructive devices via the "sporting purposes" test for imports.

    I'm not aware of any domestically produced firearm being outlawed Federally retroactively via executive order, although legislation (NFA '34, GCA '68, FOPA) has effectively done so. One place where there's plenty of room for mischief for EO's is in the area of imports, as has already been noted.
     
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