In the final press conference of his first term, President Barack Obama stood behind the bully pulpit and proceeded to bully. First and foremost, of course, he bullied on gun control:
My understanding is the vice president’s going to provide a range of steps that we can take to reduce gun violence. Some of them will require legislation, some of them I can accomplish through executive action. And so I will be reviewing those today, and as I said, I will speak in more detail to what we’re going to go ahead and propose later in the week. But I’m confident that there are some steps that we can take that don’t require legislation and that are within my authority as president, and where you get a step that, has the opportunity to reduce the possibility of gun violence, then I want to go ahead and take it.
What exactly will Obama do with “executive action” rather than legislation? There are several options. First, he can attempt to issue orders that would go to better coordination between state and federal authorities under current law. Or he could stretch. He could attempt to ban types of guns, certain types of magazines, or anything else he try to prevent importation on certain types of weapons, or push harsher law enforcement on certain types of gun sales.
Obama is one Supreme Court justice away from being able to really destroy balance of power; right now, Justices Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Kennedy would likely stand against an attempt to broaden the scope of executive order power. But should Justice Kennedy retire at some point in the future, look for the Supreme Court to sign off on a dramatic shift in the balance of power to the executive.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).