Internet Articles (2015)
Executive Order allows the ATF to
The Washington Times story acknowledge that such an Executive Order exists without specifically referencing it, noting only that Obama Justice Dept. Attorney General Eric Holder granted the ATF power neither Holder nor Obama possessesto deny a citizen the lawful right to own and possess firearms under the Second Amendment of the Constitution. Obama signed this Executive Order on March 22, 2012. It is EO #13603 It is one of 900 Executive Orders Obama has issued in 3 years. EO 13604 should alarm you not solely on the basis of the content of 13603, but rather, due to the content in Obama Executive Order 13617, which he signed on June 25, 2012.
Executive Order 13603 states the Administration must "...be prepared, in the event of a potential threat to the security of the United States, to take action necessary to insure the availability of adequate resources and production capability, including services and critical technology, for national defense requirements..." That statement would allow the Obama Administration to "nationalize" ("not seize"his words, which means "seize" since Obama always means the opposite of what he says) private assets to protect national interests. On June 25, 2012, Obama notified the Speaker of the House, John Boehner and Vice President Joe Biden as the President of the US Senate that he had just declared a National Emergency under the terms of Section 204(b) of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act by seizing assets and property owned by the Russian Federation theoretically related to Russia's uranium enrichment program which the West feels the Soviets will use to help Syria become a nuclear power.
However, once a National Emergency exists in the United States, presidents are granted special powers they do not possess when a national emergency does not exist. Whether or not a president has the authority to grant himself authority that neither he nor Congress constitutionally possess remains to be seen. But it was about the time Obama issued Executive Order 23617 (which remains classified), and when Obama notified the House and Senate that a national emergency exists, that the Executive Branch departments began purchasing large caches of hollow point ammo (which was outlawed from use by UN member nations in the Geneva Convention).
With respect to Executive Order 13603, Obama has made it easy for law enforcement to seize lawful, registered guns from US citizens who are never accused of committing a crime. They don't arrest the person, they arrest the weapon since weapons have no constitutional rights. The new rule, published at the end of August, 2012, gives the BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms) authority to "...seize and administratively forfeit property involved in controlled substance abuse."
The practice of arresting property was initiated by George H.W. Bush's US Attorney General, Richard Thornberg. The practice was perfected on Bill Clinton's watch by Attorney General Janet Reno who created a separate department to handle asset forfeitures. The head of Reno's Department of Asset Forfeiture, Cary Copeland told Congress that while the program was in its infancy, Reno anticipated that the seizure of private property would increase annually at a rate of 25% per year for at least three years. Copeland said that "...asset forfeiture is to the drug war what smart bombs and air power are to modern warfare." The use of civil asset seizure against private citizens was cleared by the US Supreme Court in 1990 when the Rhenquist Court declared it to be a valid exercise of the prerogative of government which has a compelling interest in the eradication of crime.
Cash-starved cities, counties and State governments eagerly embraced the practice of civil asset forfeiture. Police seize the cars of "johns" caught in prostitution stings. While the 4th and 5th Amendments jointly guarantee US citizens that neither they nor their property can be seized or detained without due process, that no longer applies as citizens are finding they now have to prove they are not guilty of anything to regain seized property, But they seldom get it backeven when they are awarded their property back in a court of law. Why it's working is that when the government seizes firearms and other property like cash, computers, your Rolex watchand even your home, they don't arrest you, nor do they ever files criminal charges against you. They simply arrest your property.
Under normal circumstances a person must be convicted of a crime, or at least charged with a crime, before law enforcement (with an order from a lawful court) can seize their propertyparticularly weapons since once they are convicted of a felony, they may no longer legally own any firearms. Under Executive Order 13603, law enforcement has the authority to seize legal firearms owned by any person who is merely suspected of substance abuseeven if that individual is never taken into custody nor charged with substance abuse.
Constitutionally, citizens cannot be deprived of due process regardless what the occupant of the Oval Office pens into an edict since presidents do not possess either legislative or judicial authority. Under the separation of powers, the cannot write laws nor adjudicate them. The 4th Amendment protects your property and the 5th Amendment protects you. Therefore, citizens not charged with a crimeeven if they are suspected of onecannot be deprived of due process or the constitutional rights afforded all citizens.
An increasing number of narratives can be found on the Internet by Americans who are becoming increasingly worried that with EO 13603 and EO 13617, particularly with the bureaucracy stockpiling hollow point ammunition, that Obama is preparing to declare martial law and suspend the Constitution.
To date, only one president has ever declared martial law. And only one president has suspended the Bill of Rights. It was the same president. His name was Abraham Lincoln. When he suspended the Bill of Rights, it remained suspended until his assassination. When you read EO 13803 and EO 13617or any number of Executive Orders throughout the history of this nation you'll find the language in all of them deliberately vague so that phrase and word clusters can be interpreted in many waysparticularly those which favor a socialist in the White House who may have pondered the possibility of doing just that. Question the left and they will simply scoff that if any White House occupant attempted to declare martial law and assume the role of dictator, those on the political right would petition the Supreme Court to decide what the language in the Executive Order meant.
If the Supreme Court was ever called upon to do that, we would all be in trouble. Since Presidents have no legislative authority, and cannot "write law," if the Supreme Court was called on to debate the language of the Executive Order to determine its legality, we need to hope that we have impeached that Court before it reached that level of judicial incompetence. Executive Orders have the legal standing of an interoffice memo from the boss of that division of a company to his employees. Executive Orders, constitutionally, do not have standing as law because, in the United States, laws are written only by the Legislative Branch of government.