Philadelphia partner Scott Coffina wrote an article for the National Review Online, titled, “Gun Control by Executive Order?”
Scott notes that the horrific mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School has reignited the debate on gun control, with the president promising legislative proposals and 23 executive orders to restrict guns in the face of strong opposition in Congress from both parties.
Scott discusses how far the president could go in pursuit of this unilateral action by examining historical executive orders, challenges to executive orders, and the current analytical framework for executive action.
He says “the key question is how much President Obama might try to accomplish by executive action in the gray areas,” i.e., making background checks more effective or facilitating better sharing of mental-health information, but adds, “if the president decides to bypass the legislative process and act unilaterally to limit guns, he will be courting a political disaster.”
Scott believes the legislative process and “a spirit of compromise” is the way forward as “banning guns by executive order would be unnecessarily provocative and legally unsustainable, and it may not even prevent the next Newtown, which, after all, is supposed to be the goal.”
To read the entire article, click here.