In an article in the Times lamenting how the President can’t take more unilateral action on gun control, the White House laid down a marker explaining that they are at the outer limits of the President’s authority.
Administration officials say that with Congress unwilling to take any legislative action, the White House’s plan goes as far as Mr. Obama can go to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and mentally ill people.
“The actions the president announced last month represent the maximum the administration can do under the current law,” said Eric Schultz, the deputy White House press secretary, “namely increasing mental health treatment and reporting, improving public safety, managing the future of gun safety technology, and of course, enhancing the background check system.”
Of course, this assurance means absolutely nothing because President Obama personally explained that he lacked the authority to do what he did with DACA and DAPA.
I continue to be amazed with the civically-challenged Times, which is suprised that the President is limited in what he can do without congressional funding. For example, conducting more enforcement actions requires more appropriations by Congress. This concept is foreign to the pen-and-phone generation.
The absence of aggressive enforcement is a reminder of the practical limits of Mr. Obama’s executive authority, even as he repeatedly asserts the power of the Oval Office to get things done in the face of inaction by a Republican Congress.
Mr. Obama’s lawyers have cautioned against seeming to create new gun laws by fiat. The most the president can do, they have said, is to direct better enforcement of the laws that already exist.
My take on the President’s actions on guns are detailed in National Review.