A tale of two regulatory states

So, Obama’s going to release some feckless gun regulations. Unless he changes the definition of “in the business of selling guns” to include anyone who ever so much as sold a gun to a friend, I’m sorta nonplussed by this actually.

And that’s what surprises me. On the one hand you have a lawless administration running around issuing insanely overbroad restrictions on everything from wood burning stoves to irrigation ditches. Heck I sometimes wonder if my 5 gallon catch basin storm water remediation system is regulated now.

And we haven’t even started on the infamous “Dear Colleague Letter” that turned Title IX into a star chamber court system. (Yeah that’s right, that’s just a link to Ashe Schow’s author page as The Washington Examiner, too many articles to break into links.)

Beyond that there’s the immigration actions. (I’m tired of linking, I’m talking about DACA et al.)

Regulations crafted with the full force of law. Forget “taxation without representation” we have full on “legislation without regulation.” I blame many people of course, including a deferent congress who passes laws to be later flushed out by the administration (be it Democrat or Republican.)

And then on the other hand there’s this new “Executive Action on Guns.” Compared to everything else that the president has done, it’s fairly tame. Most of it might actually be within his power. Over At Volokh David Bernstein asks if this signals a backlash against executive action. I would submit the answer is: “No.” It signals an issue the President talks about to please his supporters, but doesn’t really care about. After all, he’s looking to a future making world tours, and US gun issues don’t aid him in that. Immigration and global warming actions do.

Let’s not lose sight of the bigger problem here: the regulatory state is out of control. Obama likely had the raw power (if not the actual legal authority) to do worse. As I discussed above, he did do worse in other areas. This time he didn’t. But let’s not let down our guard.