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Election season is here, and you might think President Obama would be going out of his way to show voters that he can be trusted with the powers of the presidency. But you would be wrong. Just a few days before Christmas, Obama served notice to all Americans that he will continue to abuse executive privilege by seeking new ways to vilify gun owners and further his anti-gun agenda.
Congress placed a provision in the $1 trillion omnibus spending bill for 2012 designed to bar the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from using any of its $30.7 billion taxpayer funds to “advocate or promote gun control.” However, upon signing the bill into law, President Obama issued a caveat of his own:
I have advised Congress that I will not construe these provisions as preventing me from fulfilling my constitutional responsibility to recommend to the Congress’s consideration such measures as I shall judge necessary and expedient.
In other words: “Congress may pass laws, but I decide which of its laws are constitutional and which I can simply choose to ignore.”
Of course, the Constitution doesn’t actually give the president this power, but Obama won’t allow a little thing like the U.S. Constitution get in his way. And in the present case, Congress is right to try to prevent him from using a federal health agency, not to mention our tax dollars, as a weapon in his ongoing war against the Second Amendment. As The Washington Times reports, NIH has wasted over $5 million since 2002 producing deceptive studies aimed at furthering gun control — including one study that tried “to prove that a home without firearms was essential to a child’s safety and well-being.”
Even more importantly, Congress knows that there is no scheme too radical, or dangerous, for the Obama administration when it comes to using federal agencies to push its anti-gun agenda.
Last month, email exchanges surfaced between employees at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) that show the administration helped illegally transfer guns to violent Mexican drug cartels in order to manufacture a case for gun registration. Now gun dealers in four Southwest border states must abide by a new gun registration requirement, courtesy of BATFE, that forces them to register the sales of any law-abiding American who purchases more than one semi-automatic rifle within five business days.
Congress never passed any law like this. Rather, Obama’s BATFE orchestrated the deadly “Fast and Furious” gun-walking scandal to give cause for its unconstitutional gun-control edict. Given this, how hard is it to envision the Obama administration issuing a phony “health” study that maligns gun owners?
Obama may not have a majority in Congress, or the will of the people, behind his anti-gun agenda. But that isn’t stopping his administration from finding deceitful ways to evade Congress and build public support for gun bans, gun registration and other regulations designed to weaken and destroy our Second Amendment rights.
Chris W. Cox is the executive director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) and serves as the organization’s chief lobbyist.