Recently news hit the airwaves from Vice President Biden that the President was considering executive orders for gun control. In reply to this Examiner.com said:
Still, there are limits on executive orders that would keep President Obama from taking many steps on gun control, and these limits would certainly prevent the kind of dictatorship the Drudge Report implicitly warns about on their website.
While true that the President is still quite limited on what he can do, in that the implied executive order power is not a legislative or lawmaking power, he can still do quite a bit of damage and create a lot of setbacks with regard to gun rights. The President is the presiding officer of the Executive Branch, and one key department with two key bureaus falls under the purview of the Executive Branch: the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, both under the Department of Justice. As such the President can issue executive orders with regard to these two agencies.
What kind of executive orders?
How about an executive order that interrupts the 4473 process? I’m referring, of course, to ATF form 4473, which is the form that is filled out whenever there is a transfer (sale) of a firearm by an FFL-licensed firearms dealer to a customer. This would, in a heartbeat, halt most sales of firearms in the United States. It would, also, instantly create a giant black market supporting what would be a booming illegal firearms trade.
He could also issue an executive order directing the BATFE to not issue any new or renew any existing Federal firearms licenses, which are necessary to operate a gun shop. He could also direct the BATFE to not process any NFA applications. NFA refers to the National Firearms Act, and NFA applications are processed when we’re talking about the higher-end stuff such as suppressors and full-auto firearms (i.e. machine guns). By the way, it would be under the NFA authority that Dianne Feinstein would like all existing firearms owners to register under her proposed bill.
These three executive directives would halt legal firearms sales in the United States overnight. But with all of the firearms still sitting on store shelves, it would create one hell of a black market overnight as well. Crime in the US would surge, reversing all of the crime reduction trends this country has been seeing for the last two decades.
And all of this without outright banning firearms or calling for the seizure of firearms already in the hands of private individuals. But again the ramifications of such a move are likely enough to keep the President from seriously considering such an idea, or so I hope.
So the President still has a lot of authority and capability to do a lot of damage to Second Amendment rights in this country. Now as the Second Amendment right to "keep and bear arms" necessarily requires the ability to acquire those arms, such an executive order would find itself challenged in Court on emergency filings in Court moves that would make Bush v. Gore look like it took a decade to adjudicate.