Republicans Vigorously Oppose Imaginary Obama Gun Proposals

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden announcing the White House's proposed action on guns Wednesday. C-Span

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) knew that President Barack Obama’s proposed ban on guns wouldn’t work, saying as much to Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly Wednesday night.

“What the President is proposing is problematic for a couple of reasons, but primarily because it doesn’t work…” Rubio said. “These ideas don’t work. It’s not just Chicago. Washington, DC had a very similar gun ban. And it didn’t work. In fact violent crime and murder and all these things skyrocketed in Washington during the time of those bans.”

There’s only one problem: Obama hasn’t proposed gun restrictions that resemble anything like those in Chicago or those that were overturned in Washington DC. It’s possible Rubio hadn’t actually looked at what the White House proposed before reacting. If so, he wouldn’t be the only Republican to make that mistake. Senator Rand Paul (R-Tenn.), speaking to Fox News’ Sean Hannity, vowed to “nullify anything the president does that smacks of legislation,” adding that “there are several of the executive orders that appear as if he’s writing new law. That cannot happen.” Paul’s staff might want to inform him that Obama signed no executive orders Wednesday. He did sign several presidential memorandums directing relevant agencies to alter their behavior regarding gun tracing, health research, and criminal background checks, in addition to issuing a list of other executive and administrative actions that he will take on guns. 

Obama’s legislative proposals on guns, meanwhile, still have to get through a Republican-controlled House of Representatives that is unlikely to greatly restrict gun rights. They include a new ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, but nothing as restrictive Chicago or DC laws. Despite this, Republicans have already brought up impeachment, including Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.), Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.), and Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Tex.), who didn’t even wait for Obama to unveil his plan and pretend to read it before deciding the president had met the threshold for removal from office.

Republicans were primed to expect a gun grab. Prominent conservatives like Matt Drudge have made historically obtuse warnings that Obama, like Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin, is bent on disarming the population (presumably prior to building a gulag and engaging in genocide). But rather than of banning guns by fiat, the White House’s list of executive actions consists mostly of practical or symbolic measures, containing lots of phrases like “release a letter,” “start a national dialogue” and “provide incentives.” It’s not exactly the stuff dictatorships are made of, but Obama’s imaginary executive actions on guns are certainly more exciting than the ones he actually proposed. 

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate