Sixty-seven percent of Americans say they agree with President Barack Obama’s latest executive actions on guns, though six in 10 of them say they will not be effective in curbing gun violence, according to a new survey.
This is what worries me about America. Yes, gun controls leading to gun bans and ultimate repeal of the Second Amendment.
But, even worse: mass ignorance about the role of the president and separation of powers in the U.S. Constitution.
The president is the commander in chief of the armed forces. It is not the president’s job to initiate or legislate new laws. The Constitution could not be clearer on this. Read it for yourself.
It is true that presidents issue executive orders all the time. This is because Congress empowered the president to do so, via the creation of federal programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and so forth. Whether these programs are themselves constitutional, and whether Congress should ever have been permitted by the Supreme Court to enact such laws, is another question.
But Obama is in new territory here, as he was with altering immigration law, and with imposing, delaying and reimposing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), at will.
Regardless of where these 67 percent of Americans stand on the role of government in regulating firearms, they should be disturbed and outraged that Obama has, once again, defied the Constitution in such a blatant way.
A majority of Americans, it appears, do not think in principle. A principle refers to a broad generalization across specific examples.
An example of thinking in principle? “If we permit Obama to create his own laws in this area, even if we agree with what the laws are, then what’s to stop him – or a different president – from imposing more draconian laws in another area?”
Maybe you like Barack Obama. What if Donald Trump becomes president? Do you trust his judgment in creating new laws the same as you did Obama’s? If not, what do you intend to use to stop him? Without principle, you’re stuck. If Obama gets to do whatever he wants, even if it’s not permitted by the Constitution, then so does Donald Trump.
This is not a partisan issue, and it’s not a “liberal” or “conservative” issue. It’s an issue of principle, and most Americans seem unable or willing to think in those terms.
Ironically, the same Americans polled in this sample do not have much confidence in Obama’s policy having an effect:
Do you believe Obama’s actions will be effective in curbing gun violence?
Not effective: 57 percent.
Effective: 41 percent.
Do you approve of the way Obama is handling gun policy?
Disapprove: 53 percent.
Approve: 43 percent.
Do you favor Obama using executive action on gun policy instead of working through Congress?
Oppose: 54 percent.
Favor: 44 percent.
Has Obama gone too far in trying to change gun laws?
Too far: 38 percent.
The right amount: 31 percent.
Not far enough: 30 percent.
A majority of Americans have once again permitted their president to enact and legislate new laws—laws which the same majority do not even believe will have an impact.
So we gave up our Constitution — for nothing. So that Obama can feel like he’s “doing something.”
What a sad commentary on the ignorance and inattention of most Americans.
Principles are not pie-in-the-sky irrelevancies. They are the lifeblood of civilization — the right principles, that is.
Two-thirds of Americans are letting another foundational principle — the separation of powers in our government — die on their watch. Don’t say the other one-third didn’t warn you.
Follow Dr. Hurd on Facebook. Search under “Michael Hurd” (Rehoboth Beach DE). Get up-to-the-minute postings, recommended articles and links, and engage in back-and-forth discussion with Dr. Hurd on topics of interest. Also follow Dr. Hurd on Twitter at @MichaelJHurd1