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Old November 7, 2012, 07:29 PM   #33
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Join Date: May 24, 2005
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 2,695
Originally Posted by SPEMack618
Okay, granting that Congress must enact legislation, but what is to stop the President from enacting an excutive order that bans the production and transfer of standard capacity magazines like President George H.W. Bush did with the import ban?
This might be a good time to move back toward legal issues by hitting the reset button on what an executive order is. An executive order is a directive from the President to the administrative branch of the government providing directions on how to implement or execute existing laws. Executive orders can only act within the boundaries of existing laws.

So how did President Bush ban the importation of 'assault weapons?' The Gun Control Act of 1968, 18 U.S.C. ยง 925 already controlled the importation of weapons.

(d) The Attorney General shall authorize a firearm or ammunition to be imported or brought into the United States or any possession thereof if the firearm or ammunition -
(3) ... is generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes
Congress enacted the Gun Control Act of 1968 but left it to the administrative branch to sort out the specific definition of the term "sporting purposes." Bush simply instructed the Secretary of the Treasury (law later changed to Attorney General) to clarify the term "sporting purposes" to exclude assault weapons.

There is no law that I am aware of that gives the federal government discretion over the domestic manufacture or ownership of magazines. Until such a law is enacted, the President cannot issue an executive order on that subject.
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