Saying that America faces a “gun violence epidemic” President Barack Obama announced Tuesday “a series of common-sense executive actions” to reduce gun violence that critics across the country contend infringes on Americans’ constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
The President’s proposal includes:
- Requiring those who sell guns at gun shows and online to be licensed.
- Closing a loophole that allows buyers of weapons such as machine guns to obtain them without going through a background check by buying them through trusts, corporations and other legal entities.
- Adding 230 new Federal Bureau of Investigation staff to help process mandatory background checks.
- Adding 200 new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms staff to enforce existing gun laws.
- Holding gun dealers responsible for reporting missing guns.
- Spending $500 million to “help engage” individuals with serious mental health issues in care.
The Alabama delegation reacted strongly to Obama’s proposed gun grab:
U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions:
President Obama’s proposal to unilaterally thwart law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights is a blatant abuse of his executive authority. He has chosen to completely circumvent the legislative process, ignore the Constitution, and infringe upon the rights granted to each and every citizen of the United States by the Second Amendment. This is a misguided and unconstitutional power grab, and I will not stand for it.
As a lifelong member of the NRA and the Texas Rifle Association, I know that gun laws like those in Texas work better than gun laws like those in Chicago. I have and always will vigorously defend our constitutional right to keep and bear arms and will fight against this tyrannical President’s insistence on eroding our nation’s laws.
U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby:
None of the executive actions that we expect to hear from the President would have prevented the recent tragic events in our nation. Instead of looking for ways to truly put an end to violent crime and radical Islamic terrorism, the President is once again looking to score political points by taking away the rights of law-abiding Americans to protect themselves.
The President should know better than anyone that disarming law-abiding Americans will do nothing more than empower criminals. After all, his own hometown of Chicago has the strictest gun control laws in the country, yet its violent crime rate is among the highest in our nation.
U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (AL-02):
These expected changes would not have prevented any of the recent mass shootings where guns were purchased from licensed gun dealers. Instead of continuing to ignore Congress, the President should work with us on commonsense reforms that would actually reduce gun violence, like mental health reform and preventing those who wish to bring us harm from entering the United States. In reality, I don’t think President Obama wants to solve the problem. Instead, he is simply looking for another political talking point and continuing to pander to far-left political groups.
Congress must be swift to respond to any executive action, and there will certainly be legal challenges as well. This debate is about more than the Second Amendment. This debate is about standing up to an out-of-control President who refuses to follow the Constitution.
U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02):
President Obama is wrong to try to bypass Congress to unilaterally mandate his gun control agenda, and it won’t stand. I’m a gun owner myself, and I strongly value the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment. I will fight on behalf of those I represent to stop any attempt to erode the Second Amendment rights of Americans.
There is a reason Congress has repeatedly rejected President Obama’s gun control agenda: on top of being unconstitutional, his proposals would not have prevented the recent attacks he uses to justify new laws. Instead of forcing unconstitutional gun regulations that have little hope of stopping premeditated attacks, I believe our focus should be dealing with the root causes, specifically mental health and terrorism.
U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (AL-03):
President Obama has spent his time in office expanding the size of government and infringing on our Constitutional rights. This is just another example of his blatant disregard for the Constitution. I remain completely opposed to any action that puts any level of restrictions on our right to bear arms. As a gun owner myself, I will continue to fight for our Second Amendment rights.
U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-04):
It is unbelievable and I’m at a loss of words at the news President Obama plans to sidestep the Constitution once again in order to circumvent Congress in his efforts to diminish gun owner’s rights in America. This is just another example of President Obama’s attempts to impose his failed agenda on the American people in the waning months of his Presidency.
There is not proof that the new restrictions President Obama proposes would have prevented any of the recent cases of gun violence in our country. I’m also confident that these new proposed restrictions on the Second Amendment will not stop any future incidents. As we know our problem in America is not a gun problem. It is a cultural problem and a problem of the heart by these criminals. No new gun laws can change the attitude of someone who is so lost in this world that they are bent on killing others.
U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (AL-05):
No statement made thus far.
U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (AL-06):
The President’s Executive Actions are beyond the scope of his Constitutional powers. This President has developed a pattern over the past seven years of ignoring the Constitution whenever it suits him. This is wrong. Nothing in the President’s Executive Actions would have done anything to stop the most recent incidents of gun violence.
I have always been and will continue to be a strong defender of our Second Amendment rights, and will fight any attempt to infringe upon them. Executive actions are not law and, on January 20, 2017, can be rescinded by the next President.
U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07):
Our nation must take common sense actions to stem the rising tide of gun violence that has claimed far too many lives. Effective policies should make it harder for criminals and those with a history of serious mental illness to obtain a gun, but such policies cannot restrict a law-abiding citizen’s right to bear arms. Unfortunately, Congress has repeatedly failed to pass gun safety measures that would protect our communities while defending responsible gun ownership.
… While I understand the concerns that some of my constituents have regarding President Obama’s executive orders, I also recognize that we must strike a balance between gun ownership and gun safety. To be clear, I do not support any legislation or executive orders that threaten our constitutionally protected rights. I believe that President Obama’s executive orders meet this criteria and are in line with the majority of American’s views on this issue. My hope is that we can set aside party politics and work together in the best interests of our nation to reduce gun violence and protect all Americans.
Governor Robert Bentley:
America’s founding fathers prioritized the right to keep and bear arms, and President Obama is overstepping his authority and threatening to take away our 2nd amendment rights. It is unacceptable for the President to bypass Congress and the U.S. Constitution with his plan. The overreach by the President seems to be his preferred way of leading our country, and it is another reason why it is critical for Americans to send a conservative back to the White House in November. I encourage the Alabama congressional delegation to listen to the message of the Alabama people and fight to protect the fundamental rights of gun owners.
Alabama State Senator Gerald Allen (R-Cottondale):
President Obama is shredding the Constitution. Obama’s executive order is squarely aimed at limiting the number of gun dealers in the United States with the underlying goal of reducing the number of places at which Americans can buy guns to protect their families.
President Obama realizes most Americans and their elected representatives in Congress oppose this anti-Second Amendment action. So once again, he resorts to a unilateral executive order to impose his will on the American people.
I will not stand idly by as this president gradually disarms Americans via executive fiat. I have introduced a bill for the 2016 legislative session that will extend Alabama’s existing castle doctrine to a person’s vehicle. You have a fundamental Second Amendment right to defend your family and home with a firearm. We shouldn’t require free citizens to get a gun permit to defend their person and property, and that should include your vehicle.