President Obama like most Americans was shaken by the tragedy before Christmas where 20 young students were slain by a lunatic with assault weapons. However, his new executive orders today banning assault weapons faces an uncertain path. The firearms industry has a great deal of financial interest in the continued sale of assault-type weapons, although both the industry as well as owners of these military-type weapons have been hard pressed to explain their legitimate use, although many claim that they serve security purposes. Further, it is unclear whether the Supreme Court would uphold the power of the president banning certain weapons that the 2nd Amendment may not give the president or even congress the actual powers to restrict.
At some point, the Supreme Court will need to address what weapons are allowed by the Bill Of Rights and which are not. Further, a Republican majority in Congress as well as a majority of Americans may not support a ban on assault weapons which they feel are being made a scapegoat here.
Actual crime figures find that just 2-10% of long weapons are actually used in crimes, depending on the particular classification of crime. Banning the sale of new assault rifles won’t likely impact crime rates by very much. Nothing can be done to retroactively ban the existing weapons or prevent some undocumented sales of guns between persons.
Another problem for the president is that some gun rights advocates may now be emboldened to push for the impeachment of the president by claiming that he attempted to exceed the constitutional limits of his office.
Many of the excutive orders of the president are noncontroversial here. But, the push to ban assault rifles and high capacity magazine clips is only likely to open a new firestorm for this president, led by both gun advocates as well the firearms industry. Further, this president might not have the legal authority to push for such a broad executive order like this. At some point, expect some court case to make it to the U.S. Supreme Court for a ruling to establish just what type of guns are protected by the Bill Of Rights, and which are not considered to be protected.