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The President’s Gun Plan Puts Radical Ideology Over National Security

Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA)

The administration of President Barack Obama may well go down in history as one of the greatest failures of anyone who ever occupied the oval office; however, history will not claim him as a political novice.

In a statement on the official White House website, the president acknowledged that he will do whatever it takes to advance his anti-Second Amendment agenda, and he is playing on the fears of the American people to promote that radical anti-gun agenda.

The statement says, ‘Some gaps in our country’s gun laws can only be fixed through legislation…while Congress has repeatedly refused to take action…today, the Administration is announcing a series…of executive actions to keep guns out of the wrong hands through background checks, make our communities safer from gun violence, increase mental health treatment and reporting to the background check system, and shape the future of gun safety technology.’

While the president claims to be using ‘all the tools at his disposal’ to make America safer, clearly he is admitting that he is raiding the congressional toolbox, and taking on the role of executive and legislator. This is a very dangerous situation for the rights of Americans. Charles Montesquieu, an eighteenth century judge and political philosopher, who had great influence on our founders, warned, ‘When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty…’

Whether you are on the side of more gun control or, like myself, you believe we need less government regulation in our lives, this action of the president is a major overstepping of Constitutional authority.

The president has clearly stated that what he is accomplishing through executive fiat is what should be done by the legislative branch; but, since they ‘have not responded,’ he is going to act. The truth is, the legislative branch has responded, but not in the way the president wanted; so, instead of honoring the balance of powers, he has decided to act on his own. 

This should concern everyone; whether you lean to the left, the right, or somewhere in the middle.
Even if you are comfortable handing over all the control of government to the White House; even if you feel what he is doing will make you safer, you need to fully consider what the outcome will be.

His proposals could have an impact on curbing violent crime, if guns were to arbitrarily jump up and started shooting people. However, guns don’t shoot people; people shoot people, and going after guns will not stop violence. There are several issues the president could address that would make Americans less vulnerable to violence, but he has, time after time, chosen to ignore them.

One of the greatest threats to our nation’s security and to our on-going fight against violent crime, is an open and porous southern border. The border between the U.S. and Mexico is controlled by criminal cartels that regularly smuggle narcotics, weapons, contraband, and people into the United States.

Last February, as part of a Congressional delegation, I spent four days on the southern border. From San Diego to the Rio Grande in Texas, we accompanied federal and local agents, who are on the front lines of stopping illegal entry into our nation. I learned that to stop the influx of weapons, drugs and illegal aliens, we must have more resources on the border.

According to local citizens and border patrol agents, walls and fences alone are not effective deterrents. According to one agent, ‘If we build a twelve-foot fence, they get thirteen-foot ladders.’ The cartels are well-funded organizations that hire engineers to build tunnels, fly aircraft to drop illegal cargo into the U.S., and have even used laser torches to cut through steel barriers in order to drive truckloads of narcotics into Arizona.

The only way to properly secure the southern border is to employ a combination of physical barriers, technology, and more boots on the ground. Early last year, the House Homeland Security Committee passed a border security bill that implemented these solutions; but, the president promptly rejected it and threatened a veto should it come to his desk.

The president has chosen to ignore a significant security threat and, now, instead of funding more border patrol agents, his executive order calls for the hiring of 200 more ATF agents to investigate the sale of firearms to U.S. citizens.

The president’s order also calls for hiring 230 new FBI personnel to help process background checks on gun sales. Just a few weeks ago, during a Homeland Security Committee hearing, I questioned the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of the FBI on how they were going to process, vet and monitor the influx of ten thousand Syrian refugees the president was going to allow into our country. Their response was that they didn’t know how, because the FBI didn’t have the resources to monitor the refugees and investigate other potential terrorists currently in the country.

ISIS and Al Qaeda have clearly stated that they would exploit our refugee resettlement program as a way to infiltrate jihadists into our nation. Congress recently passed legislation which would have halted this program but, once again, Congress did something the president didn’t like, so he ignored Congress and continued at full-speed resettling refugees into our states.

Now, instead of closing a door for terrorists to enter our nation, or give the FBI additional agents to monitor and investigate potential terrorists, he is planning to hire more administrative clerks to investigate the personal lives of U.S. citizens.

Furthermore, the president is calling for an investment of $500 million to include mental health information in background checks. While some may feel this a worthy effort, we have returning war veterans suffering from PTSD, among other ills, being ignored by the VA.

As a member of the House special task force investigating foreign terrorists traveling to the U.S., I’ve spent months investigating our nation’s vulnerabilities. Last fall, we released a report citing thirty-two issues that should be immediately addressed.

One of our greatest vulnerabilities is the lack of effort the administration is putting into curbing the radicalization of America’s youth by extreme Islamic terrorist organizations. The recent attacks in Chattanooga and San Bernardino were executed by U.S. citizens, radicalized and used by ISIS to carry out their atrocious acts of violence.

Currently, the administration has only fourteen people, in the entire federal government, working on combating violent extremism and outreach programs to curb the radicalization of our youth. Again, the president ignored our call to invest more in these effective outreach programs to stop terrorism; but his executive order directs federal employees to develop outreach programs to go after guns.

Finally, the president has directed agencies tasked with protecting our national security to invest taxpayer dollars and resources to research smart-gun technology.
While this may be emerging technology in the future, the administration has failed to implement new state-of-the-art screening and scanning technologies for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Last fall, the TSA grossly failed a security inspection. Several weapons and other banned items easily passed through security checkpoints.

For the past year, I and others have pressed the TSA to implement the next generation of baggage handling technology, already being fielded in Europe by its U.S. developers. Again, instead of using resources to develop technologies to protect our transportation system from terrorists who use guns, the president opts to pull these resources to study how to make guns safer.

If guns killed people on their own, his executive order may have a limited effect. Unfortunately, by his inaction on securing our borders, ignoring terrorists’ threats to infiltrate our nation, and redirecting law enforcement and national security resources to advance a political agenda, he has proven his plan is not to make America safer.

Mr. President, if you want to protect the American people - secure our borders, stop the influx of refugees coming to our states from terrorist-controlled nations, and remove the bureaucratic hurdles keeping our TSA from implementing the technology they need. This would be a legacy worth pursuing.