President Obama announced his executive gun controls on January 5, and as of January 9, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have refused to fight against it. So Obama is in a full-court press for more gun control–and he smells weakness.
The Hill reports that Obama will save an “open seat” at the State of the Union address to honor those killed in mass shootings and “to send a message of Congress that they must act to make it harder for guns to fall into the wrong hands.”
It was just Tuesday that Obama added new requirements to FFLs, funded “smart gun” technology, co-opted a gun ban for some Social Security beneficiaries, and expanded background checks to cover more private sellers–without giving those sellers a criteria they have to meet before being required to go through background checks.
WLKY reports that McConnell responded to Obama’s executive gun control by criticizing it, but without offering any action that the Senate plans to take to shut Obama’s efforts down. McConnell said, “If the president thought there was any legislative support for what he was doing, he would try to get the Congress to approve it, so I don’t think what he’s doing is going to have any impact on the problem at all.”
And The Wall Street Journal reported that Ryan responded to the gun controls by saying he was “sure” the executive gun controls will be “challenged in the courts.” Ryan said he also expects an incoming Republican president to overturn them, but he said nothing about using his position as Speaker to shut down the executive gun control push. He said nothing about launching a concerted PR campaign aimed at shaming Obama for taking steps that make it harder for single mothers to get the guns they need to defend their families and harder for Americans of all stripes to get the guns they need for self-defense.
During Obama’s January 7 CNN gun control town hall, he admitted he believes making guns more expensive is a way to fight crime. According to CNN, Obama admitted his executive gun controls offer no “guarantee” against criminals getting guns, but that the controls will make it “a little more difficult and a little more expensive.” He added, “You know, the laws of supply and demand mean that if something’s harder to get and it’s a little more expensive to get, then fewer people get them.”
Are Ryan and McConnell paying attention to this? Obama’s executive actions will price guns out of the reach of poor families–of single moms in inner cities, who may actually need a gun more than anyone else.
As things stand, Obama just sees weakness. So he is pushing gun control as earnestly now as he did before he announced his executive actions.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.