U.S. Rep. Perry: Limit president on gun laws

Greg Gross

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry introduced legislation this week that would prohibit the president from regulating guns through executive actions.

The York County Republican's bill, HR 4319 and informally known as the Second Amendment Defense Act, would not allow the executive branch to take unilateral action to create more restrictive gun regulations for law-abiding owners, the lawmaker said.

It came to fruition in the wake of President Barack Obama unveiling his plan Tuesday to tighten control and enforcement of firearms in the U.S., using his presidential powers in the absence of legal changes he implored Congress to pass.

"There is no reason for him (the president) to affront the legislative process and the Constitution," Perry said in an interview on Wednesday. "They are very weighty issues to be considered.

Every president since George Washington has issued at least one executive order. In more recent times, former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush signed 364 and 291 orders, respectively. Obama has signed 224 orders through the end of 2015.

The bill: Specifically the bill would not allow a president to regulate firearms or ammunition through executive orders. It would also prohibit a federal officer or government employee from taking any action that would be more restrictive than federal laws that are currently on the books.

Perry noted the federal government already has 240 pages of gun regulations passed by Congress.

Since introducing the legislation Tuesday, 14 co-sponsors, all Republicans, have signed their names to it. Some of the lawmakers approached Perry on the House floor asking to co-sponsor the bill just after it was introduced.

"I think there's a lot of interest in it," Perry said.

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.