Gov. Asa Hutchinson sniped at President Obama this morning on his plan to attempt to improve gun safety through some executive actions.

It’s not surprising. 1) He’s a Republican. 2) He’s a former paid hand for the NRA. And he was just a precursor of a coordinated and uniform Republican attack on the president.

But really. “Attacking” the 2nd Amendment?

Vox has an explainer on what the president has in mind. For the gun nuts who think any regulation of guns is objectionable and unconstitutional — something even Justice Antonin Scalia and a U.S. Supreme Court majority do not believe — it won’t be calming.


There are political reasons that argue against Obama acting without congressional approval, the first being that a future Republican president could simply reverse the orders. But, so far, it’s hard to see constitutional problems.

He hopes to narrow the number of for-profit gun dealers who make sales without background checks required for most gun dealers (the so-called gun show loophole). Background checks are NOT unconstitutional.

He will hire more people to run background checks.

He will require background checks for people who buy through a corporation or trust.

He will change a federal rule that will make it easier for states to provide mental health records for background checks.

He will enforce tighter rules for reporting of lost or stolen guns.


He will fund more research into technology to make guns safer by reducing risk of accidents.

He will press for stronger law.

An attack on the Constitution? I don’t see it, even if the governor does.

Coverage of Obama’s remarks today here.

UPDATE: Attorney General Leslie Rutledge joined the orchestrated Republican chorus against the president.

“Enhancing public safety and reducing the impact of gun violence on our communities must be a top priority, but the President is once again attempting to side-step the legislative branch, this time to restrict gun rights of law-abiding citizens,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am extremely concerned at the President’s executive actions. As Arkansas Attorney General, I have a duty to protect Arkansans and to make sure our fundamental, Constitutional rights are not violated.”

I’ve asked her spokesman to specify rights violated by the steps outlined. I’ll let you know if I get a response. I asked the same of extremist Sen. Tom Cotton, whose statement came from the same boilerplate factory.

The executive actions the president announced today trample the Constitution and undermine our unalienable right to bear arms. They purposely seek to blur legal lines and intimidate individuals from exercising their right to buy or sell a firearm. Criminals or other mentally ill individuals who wish to inflict harm with guns will not be deterred by speeches or presidential memos-and the president shouldn’t punish law-abiding citizens in an attempt to prove they will. Today, President Obama has once again chosen to bypass Congress and instead use executive fiat to force his own agenda on the American people. Rest assured, Congress won’t be ignored and I am committed to protecting your Second Amendment rights.

By the reasoning of Cotton and others, no law will deter crime. So why have any laws at all?

The NRA stopped short of calling the Obama ideas unconstitutional, though it claimed they harassed and intimidated lawful gun owners and amounted to an “incoherent” strategy to dealing with terrorism. Everyone knows there is a coherent two-word answer to virtually all societal ills — more guns.

More words later in the day from Gov. Hutchinson:


“On the issue of violent attacks from armed gunmen, my background has allowed me the opportunity to examine closely this issue from every side and I disagree with the President’s approach. Today, the President reinforced what we’ve come to expect: he would rather circumvent the American people, Congress and the Constitution in an effort to accomplish his agenda. The actions outlined in his executive order are largely the same new restrictions that Congress has already rejected.

“I, too, agree that the safety and security of Americans should come first. That’s why I would encourage the President to use his last year in office in developing a more effective strategy and action plan against ISIS and other terror threats targeting the United States. He has an opportunity to lead and unify but instead the President has opted to attack the Second Amendment and law abiding citizens through a divisive plan that will not save any lives.”