MADISON, Wis. – President Barack Obama’s word doesn’t “trump the Second Amendment,” House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted Tuesday as Republicans nationwide shot back at the White House’s unilateral push to expand background checks for gun buyers.
The president’s potential end run around the Constitution in pushing yet another executive order drew cheers from gun-control advocates and jeers from Second Amendment watchers.
“From day one, the president has never respected the right to safe and legal gun ownership that our nation has valued since its founding,” Ryan said in a statement. “He knows full well that the law already says that people who make their living selling firearms must be licensed, regardless of venue. Still, rather than focus on criminals and terrorists, he goes after the most law-abiding citizens.”
“His words and actions amount to a form of intimidation that undermines liberty,” the Janesville Republican added.
His long-serving House colleague, U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, voiced similar criticisms.
“The president’s aversion to gun rights and the Second Amendment has been blatantly clear throughout his tenure, as has his disregard for the checks and balances on power put in place by our Founding Fathers,” Sensenbrenner said in a statement.
Nothing Obama outlined – from broader checks on gun show and online firearm purchasers to increased funding for the FBI – would have prevented the tragedies “perpetrated by bad actors in recent months,” the 5th District congressman said.
“The gun control measures a tearful President Barack Obama announced Tuesday would not have prevented the slaughters of 20 first-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, or 14 county workers at a holiday party in San Bernardino, California,” according to an AP review.
“Instead of inflicting burdensome and repetitive government regulations on law-abiding gun owners, the president must work with Congress to not only identify the root causes of gun violence in this country, but also to find and implement real, constitutional solutions,” Sensenbrenner said.
Democrats echoed the talking points of their party’s leader.
U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, decried “partisan gridlock” from Republicans on gun control. She called the president’s executive actions a sensible path that will curb “our nation’s gun violence epidemic.”
“I applaud the president for taking steps within his executive authority to stand against the powerful gun lobby and the right-wing ideologues they support,” Moore said in a statement.
But it appears Obama’s sweeping use of “executive authority” again could face court tests, although the president’s measures in and of themselves do not create serious constitutional questions, legal experts contend.
Still, the National Rifle Association said the proposed executive actions are “ripe for abuse” by the Obama administration.”
“The NRA will continue to fight to protect the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed under our Constitution. We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to become scapegoats for President Obama’s failed policies,” Chris Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, said in a statement.
Ryan said Obama is “at minimum subverting the legislative branch, and potentially overturning its will.” He called the president’s actions a “dangerous level of executive overreach.”