'Nibbling around the edges': House Democrat skeptical of President Joe Biden's executive order on guns
On Tuesday's edition of Meet the Press, United States Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-New York) called upon President Joe Biden to take stronger unilateral action on gun control even if that edict risks being struck down by the judiciary.
Biden signed an executive order on Tuesday afternoon that "directs the attorney general to increase background checks by cracking down on gun sellers who don't perform them when required, with the goal of 'moving us as close as we can to universal background checks without new legislation,' as Mr. Biden put it," CBS News explained. "The order also directs federal agencies to improve public awareness and promote the use of 'red-flag' laws, and instructs the attorney general to release more information about federally licensed firearms dealers who violate the law."
NBC News moderator Kristen Welker noted to Bowman that "President Biden is signing an executive order, essentially trying to reinforce and strengthen background checks" and asked then him, "does this executive order go far enough?"
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Bowman was skeptical.
"No it doesn't, and first and foremost, it's on us in Congress to write a bill to effectively ban assault rifles in our country. Unfortunately, too many of my colleagues do not have the courage to do this, so we need for the president to stretch his authority as far as it can go and seek to use executive action to ban assault rifles. Now this will probably be challenged in court, but if it is, so be it," he said. "The American people need to see that we are fighting with them and for them. The ban or a ban on assault rifles is very popular. It always polls very well, and we know that it will ultimately save lives of vulnerable people in our society. I mean, just last year we had a mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, and we have very good gun laws. So this is a, this is an epidemic. It's been an epidemic for a while, and we need for the president to be as aggressive as possible."
Welker pushed back.
"Well, Congressman, let me challenge you on that because the Biden administration would say exactly what your point is, which is that if the president were to issue an executive action and, and try to ban assault rifles, it would be challenged in court. It would go nowhere likely. They would make the argument, why not put our energy towards something that can actually be implemented and not face that level of a legal challenge. So why not put the energy toward getting something passed in Congress and is that realistic given that the votes are not there for an assault weapons ban?" she posited.
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"Well, we have to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. Absolutely, Congress needs to act. There's no question about it. But when the president takes executive action, it needs to make a strong statement to the American people, and it shouldn't feel like it's nibbling around the edges," Bowman replied.
"But shouldn't an executive action be more than making a statement, Congressman?" Welker wondered.
"The American people need to see that we're fighting for them, and many of them feel helpless and hopeless because they consistently tell me in my district and consistently tell me around the country that you guys aren't getting anything done," Bowman replied. "Now, obviously that's an exaggeration. There's been many things that have been done, however, on the issue of assault rifles, we have Moms Demand Action. We have so many groups that have been organizing for years to ban assault rifles. The president needs to stand with us – and he has been for the most part – but we need him to be stronger and heavy-handed and louder on fighting for the issues we know the American people care about if it's challenged court or not."
Watch below or at this link.
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