July 27, 2017

NOT WHAT, BUT HOW

Obama-Crying“The accumulation of all power, legislative, executive, and judiciary in the same hands…may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”
–James Madison, Federalist 46

“All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”
–U.S. Constitution, Art. I, § 1

“The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.”
–U.S. Constitution, Art. II, § 1, cl. 1

 

The latest unilateral action by president Obama, increasing the number of persons that will require permits to sell, and background checks when purchasing guns, by itself are pretty mild, appropriate, and unfortunately not very effective for curbing the murders that they are supposed to help avoid. So it is not a question of what he did, but how he did it.   Obama’s propensity to overreach in his executive power and not try to work through congress is what is worrisome. In this particular case, the majority of voters were supportive of the measures, and with that backing he should have been able to work with opponents of both parties to make legislation for that purpose. Instead he chose to use the issue to falsely make it a republican vs. democrat political difference, when everyone knows that the opposition in the congress was bipartisan. Most critics call these measures as an affront to the 2nd amendment of the Constitution. I have no doubt that Obama has demonstrated time and time again his disdain for guns and the right of ownership by citizens.   In this latest action though, I believe that the immediate constitutional challenges are against the first two articles of our main law, the ones that define the separation of powers.

In reality, the purpose of these changes was not to facilitate the application of the existing law, which is the justification for an executive or administrative order. His intent was clearly to make new laws, in fact similar to the ones that had failed in the legislature with bipartisan opposition. Factual evidence clearly shows that we do not have a “gun” problem in this country, but a “crime” problem. The latest FBI statistics show that last year there were only 8,124 murders by guns, compared to 270,000 other crimes utilizing guns. Our total population is around 320 million, with 300 million guns.   Mass murders, though appalling, are very few as compared with the total population. Motor vehicles accidents cause around 31 thousand deaths a year, 92 each day, more than four times the gun deaths, including children that also deserve the tears exhibited by our president in his latest public appearance. Of course nobody blames cars, or calls for their banishment. And what measures have been taken by the government to curb the cause of gun violence? None.   Convictions for violent crimes are down during this administration, while the number of criminals released has increased. And what about help for the mentally ill that if untreated, could become a danger to themselves and others?   The same response; much blame, stigmatization, but no evidence of any tangible actions. It is hard to figure out the passion that this administration has in combating gun ownership and climate change, at a time when we are being threatened by terrorism, a weakening economy, and a world where the Middle East is in flames, and Russia and China, for different reasons, are expanding their power and influence.

 

Fernando J Milanes MD

 

 

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