Could an executive order directly affect me? Yes, and it has in the past. Two instances that immediately come to mind were in 1942 when FDR ordered all Japanese-Americans on the West Coast, to be rounded up and confined in detention centers (euphemism for concentration camps) simply because they happened to be descendants of a certain race. The second was in 1952 when Harry S. Truman attempted to seize the steel industry and have the Department of Commerce operate the mills, but the Supreme Court intervened. So, yes it could happen again and if it does, it will be a singular attack on the second amendment. But if there are more executive orders in the future it could be any of the amendments that comprise our Bill of Rights that will be the target.
How could that happen now and is anyone contemplating such action? I can assure you they are. Just recently, Vice President Joe Biden was asked what would happen if President Obama’s gun control measures didn’t pass muster in the Congress. His answer was, “The president is going to act. Executive orders, executive action, can be taken.”
Some people would say that would never happen. I say, tell that to the thousands of Japanese whose lives were trashed in 1942 through executive action. Tell that to the operators of the steel mills in 1952.
The Attorney General of Nevada, when asked to evaluate the financial impact of AB196, started the evaluation with, “We would note that this is a very speculative bill.” Indeed! Perhaps it would have been advantageous to the American citizens confined to concentration camps in 1942 and the operators of the steel mills in 1952 to have had an AB196 codified in their time, just in case.
History has shown that others have had the opportunity to forestall tyrannical action with action of their own. The U.S. Constitution was ratified by all but one of the states in 1789, but did you know that the first 10 amendments, what we know as our Bill of Rights, were not part of that document?
The delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1788, having, in recent history, shrugged off the shackles of tyranny through the American Revolution thought that they built into that document enough checks and balances to thwart any propensity to focus power into one or the other branch to the exclusion of inalienable rights.
Almost as soon as the document was ratified, members of Congress became skeptical of the original substance of the founding document thinking that it didn’t go far enough to preserve the rights they considered sacred. They too had experienced tyranny and were of no mind to encourage a central government to violate those God-given rights that the British so cavalierly suppressed. As a result, 12 amendments were transmitted from the Congress to the states for consideration. With their inborn skepticism of a central government, they adopted the first 10 amendments as a, “just in case you didn’t get it;” these are what we consider to be our rights under this Constitution. The two amendments that were rejected dealt with Congressional representation and Congressional pay. The Bill of Rights was ratified by all the states effective on Dec. 15, 1791, two years after the original document was approved.
I would encourage all of you to be skeptics with respect to your government, not in the sense that you always expect wrong-doing, but in the same sense as those who drew up the first 10 amendments, our Bill of Rights. Be vigilant. Be involved.
As with the skeptics in 1789, so it is here in Nevada today when AB196 was introduced by Assemblyman Jim Wheeler, who wanted to be sure that if there is a direct assault via executive order on our freedoms and rights under the Constitution, a statute will be ready and waiting to defend against that assault.