What’s a president to do when he can’t get Congress on board with his agenda? Just ram it through via executive order, of course. At least, that’s what far-left Rep. Jamaal Bowman, a New York Democrat, just called on President Biden to do.
Biden has, for some time now, promoted a ban on so-called “assault weapons.” But legislators won’t send such a ban to his desk, probably because we already tried it and it objectively didn’t work. Bowman, however, evidently thinks that this democratic outcome—remember, these same folks love to screech about “democracy!”—is unacceptable and that Biden should even go so far as to openly flout the law to enact a ban anyway.
“I wish the president would sign an executive order to ban assault rifles, and if it goes to the courts for a fight, so be it,” Bowman told Yahoo News. “The American people need to see that we give a crap. And that we’re fighting. And that we’re doing everything we can.” (Emphasis added.)
Rep. Jamaal Bowman is calling on President Biden to pass an executive order on gun reform, after a spate of recent shootings.
“I wish the president would sign an executive order to ban assault rifles, and if it goes to the courts for a fight, so be it.” https://t.co/ODv0l63RO7
— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) April 12, 2023
“Apathy and complacency… is common in the Republican Party and common for many career politicians,” the congressman added. “We’re sacrificing the lives of our kids and innocent people for the Second Amendment.”
Let’s be clear: This is deeply unhinged.
While the argument for banning “assault weapons” is deeply flawed, it’s at least a fair subject for debate that Americans of good faith can disagree on. But such a ban very obviously would have to be passed by Congress, not enacted via presidential fiat. Even if Congress passed it, the current Supreme Court could very well rule that such a ban violates the Second Amendment and strike it down. But they would absolutely strike it down if Biden tried to do it via executive order.
It’s bizarre that a sitting member of Congress needs this explained, but under our Constitution, the president is not a king and does not get to make new laws by himself.
In fact, the executive branch can’t even ban a firearms accessory without Congress passing legislation. We know this because the ATF recently tried to ban “bump stocks,” a common accessory that help a user fire at a faster rate, by reclassifying them with a new rule, and the courts have repeatedly struck their efforts down as unconstitutional because they don’t have legislative authorization. If the feds can’t uniltareally ban an accessory, they surely can’t ban an entire category of firearm that includes millions of lawfully owned firearms.
But even Bowman seems to know this. That’s why his remarks acknowledge it would end up in the courts. He evidently just thinks the president should violate the law anyway in order to “do something!” and own the Republicans, or something.
This stance demonstrates a clear disregard for the rule of law. It’s also remarkably short-sighted, as Democrats undoubtedly don’t want a future Republican president to take the same approach Bowman is advocating here. It would also be an incredible waste of resources and tax dollars if our courts had to constantly strike down presidential actions the executive already knew to be unconstitutional, but enacted to virtue signal. That’s not how grown ups get things done.
And it’s hardly an outlier. Increasingly, Democrats call for an end to any democratic norm or process that gets in the way of their agenda, because they don’t actually like democracy as anything more than a talking point. Democratic politicians really need to stop playing stupid games with our constitutional order—before they win some stupid prizes.