Sen. Rand Paul on Wednesday night announced plans to try to undo parts of President Barack Obama’s executive proposals to curb gun violence, saying the president may be developing a “king-like complex.”
“We will nullify anything the president does that smacks of legislation,” the Kentucky Republican said on Fox News in reference to 23 actions Obama unveiled earlier in the day. The executive actions range from steps to encourage states to improve information sharing on background checks to directing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct new studies related to gun violence.
“I’m very concerned about this president,” Paul said, before alluding to contentious executive actions taken by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during his record-setting tenure in the White House. Roosevelt served three full terms and part of a fourth. He died in office.
“FDR had a little bit of this ‘king complex’ also. We had to limit FDR finally because he served so many terms that I think he would have ruled in perpetuity, and I’m very concerned about this president garnering so much power and arrogance that he thinks he can do whatever he wants,” Paul said.
Paul conceded that his own current proposals have little chance of moving in the Senate, referring to an earlier ill-fated effort to cut off aid to Egypt, Libya and Pakistan.
“I had a vote in the Senate and only 10 senators supported me” on that proposal, he said. Since joining the Senate in 2010, Paul has repeatedly shown a willingness to force floor votes even when he has no chance of prevailing.
This time, Paul’s measure would seek to nullify any executive actions that could be construed as contravening the Second Amendment, according to a summary provided by Paul’s office. The summary makes specific reference to executive orders, even though it appears none of the actions announced Wednesday by the White House would actually require a formal executive order. Instead, the White House appears to be trying to set priorities for executive agencies in terms of enforcement of gun laws. It also is hoping to provide legal guidance on current laws to make sure medical research on gun violence can be conducted and that mental health professionals can report dangerous threats.
Paul also wants to make sure he or others have legal standing to challenge the executive actions in the federal court system.
Paul’s measure would block any funds from being used to implement executive orders related to gun control or related to restrictions on the Second Amendment.
Regardless of whether his proposal passes, Paul believes he may have more opportunities in the Senate to stop advancement of gun control legislation.
“I think there are a few Democrats that will worry about going home to West Virginia or other states like that and voting for a ban on guns,” he said.
“I think there is a good chance we can stop his legislative action,” Paul said in reference to the White House pushing for Congress to act on an assortment of measures, including restrictions on high-capacity magazine clips and a ban on assault weapons.
Earlier in the day, Republicans were quick to criticize many of Obama’s proposals, and some Democrats also cautioned against too much federal control.