I understand the premise of it, in that it was supposed to be used as a way for Congress not to be flooded with legislation.
It wasn't supposed to give the Executive branch the ability to legislate
. EO's have been vastly abused by the last few Presidents, but the public has largely failed to notice or raise a fuss about it.
For example, the 1989 import ban met with a collective "meh" by most gun owners, and it was ignored by the general public. Things are different today. There's a greater mistrust of government, and there's a greater awareness of the 2nd Amendment.
Pulling something like that in 2012 would very likely result in a court challenge on the constitutionality of the ban. It could also give the Supreme Court a chance to clamp down on just what can and cannot be done with EO's.