Donald Trump executive order signing
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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By Richard Hayes

Many of our freedoms seem to have disappeared right before our eyes; no explanation needed, no permission needed, and no votes cast. How could this possibly happen without more involvement among the people of our country? It’s all linked to two words: executive orders.

In this two-part article, I’ll examine the subject and history of executive orders, how they end up affecting everyday life and infringing on our right to keep and bear arms.

We begin with federal executive orders. In the second part, I’ll cover state executive orders issued by governors. These state-based executive orders have certainly been in the news throughout the pandemic as states have tried to “slow the spread” of the COVID-19 virus. But for now, let’s start at the top of the executive branch.

The Authority of the President

The President of the United States has the ability to issue executive orders. In fact, executive orders can be traced all the way back to this country’s first president, George Washington. An executive order is a means of issuing federal directives by the President to manage the operations of the federal government. The legal or constitutional basis for executive orders has multiple sources.

The authority of the President to issue an executive order is not expressly stated in the United States Constitution, but rather is implied. This implied power comes from Article II, Section 1, which states “The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” Furthermore, Section 3 of Article II states that the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”

In some cases, the President has statutory authority to issue executive orders, as codified in Title 3 of the Code of Federal Regulations with the force of law. Although the President doesn’t need Congressional approval to issue an executive order, Congress can revoke an executive order either by enacting new laws (subject to the President’s veto power) or by withholding federal funding. Executive orders are not, however, without limitations and are subject to legal review by the federal courts and the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Extraordinary Power of Presidential Orders

Although executive orders are directives to the government and federal agencies — rather than individuals — many historic examples demonstrate the impact on individual rights. If an agency is forced to change a policy because of an executive order, then that policy can directly affect the average American.

In the many years since our founding as a country, there have been some noteworthy executive orders issued by the President that greatly affected people; some severely limited their rights under the Constitution, and seem outright antithetical to our American ideals. Here are some noteworthy examples:

  • President Harry Truman: Faced with a massive strike by the steel industry during the Korean War, President Truman signed Executive Order 10340 on April 8, 1953. This order allowed the Secretary of Commerce to take possession of certain American steel mills and ordered any and all federal agencies to assist as necessary in the plant and facility seizures. This was quickly ruled by the Supreme Court to be unconstitutional.
  • President Woodrow Wilson: Demonstrating that executive orders can impact specific aspects of life—even hunting—through Executive Order 1884, President Wilson made the use of hunting with a “lantern, torch, bonfire, or other artificial light” a misdemeanor offense. Further, Wilson signed many other executive orders covering hiring, anti-corruption efforts, telegraph and wireless services, postal crimes, and even got involved in the day-to-day operations of the Panama Canal Zone… all by executive order.
  • President Abraham Lincoln: President Lincoln took a drastic and controversial step to sign an executive order that suspended habeas corpus and the right of the accused to report unlawful detention. This was done to stop a Southern-sympathizing legislator from blocking the movement of Union troops to Washington, which was virtually undefended at the start of the war. While the initial order only allowed for warrantless arrest between New York City and Washington, D.C., President Lincoln also suspended habeas corpus and imposed martial law in Kentucky on July 5, 1864.
  • President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (“FDR”): Through Executive Order 9066, in 1942 President Roosevelt authorized the detention of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans. Taken mostly from the West Coast, approximately 60% of those interned were American citizens, were denied the right of habeas corpus, and placed in detention facilities on account of having Japanese ancestry.
American Japanese internment camps
FILE – In this March 30, 1942, file photo, Seattle crowds jam an overhead walk to witness the mass evacuation of Japanese from Bainbridge Island, Washington. Somewhat bewildered, but not protesting, some 200 Japanese men, women and children were taken by ferry, bus and train to California internment camps. Evacuation was carried out by the army. (AP Photo, File)

Gold, Guns and Presidential Orders

Another noteworthy FDR action occurred on April 3, 1933 when President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 6102, requiring Americans to surrender their gold (other than gold jewelry, gold coins, and a very small amount of gold bullion) to the government for payment of the then-prevailing value of the gold surrendered.

If you could be forced to surrender gold by executive order, is it a stretch to think that guns could go the same way?

To date, a mandatory buyback has never been attempted. One failed 2020 presidential candidate, memorably proclaimed during a debate in Houston, that “Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.” Possibly, this candidate was thinking of issuing an executive order to do just that.

Beyond executive orders, the President has other executive powers, such as issuing a proclamation and/or memorandum. A recent example of this is the banning of bump stocks. In 2018, President Donald Trump used his executive power, through memorandum, to require the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to ban bump stocks by changing their regulations.

bump fire stock ban
Dan Z for TTAG

President Trump is not the first to use his executive power to restrict firearms. After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, President Barack Obama issued several executive actions involving gun control. These actions included:

  1. Directing federal agencies to share background check information with one another.
  2. Giving money to the states for sharing background check information.
  3. Reviewing the criteria of who should be prohibited from purchasing, possessing, or transferring firearms and ammunition.
  4. Launching a “safe and responsible” gun ownership campaign.
  5. Requiring federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
  6. Clarifying that doctors, under the Affordable Care Act, may ask their patients about guns in their homes.

Executive orders are a powerful tool of government that can easily change depending on who the Commander in Chief is and what heir desired policies may be. This is why it’s extremely important to research all candidates for elected office (especially presidential candidates) to understand his or her position on gun control and policy.

Your votes can and will affect your gun rights.


Richard Hayes is an Independent Program Attorney for U.S. LawShield.


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    • This as.executive orders.are un Constitutional,the legislature writes law and it doesn’t matter who the president is.

      • The author falsely implies presidents have the authority to issue orders that have the force of law as applied to citizens, similar to issuing new laws. They don’t. Presidents may only Legally issue orders telling agencies how to execute laws already written, in order to see that laws are executed faithfully. Presidents may not legally issue new laws, orders or regulations with no basis in a standing law, ie, an order to confiscate guns or how to confiscate guns if no law has been passed by Congress to that end.

  1. Gold was selling for about 192 an oz when FDR decided 19.66 was a better price. In 30 Apr 1934 he did just that and wiped out 90 % of the value of gold.

    Still amazing people idolize him.

    • Especially since he rounded up American citizens at gun point and put them in concentration camps based solely on race.

      A real hero for the left.

        • Sadly the majority of you if you were alive at the time would of rallied around these traitors like the current one. Good to see A. History repeats itself and B. Nothing has changed here.

        • There are no traitors in the oval office now. Only if trash like you have their way will there be one in the office after November.

    • He literally was reprimanded by congress for raping US navy sailors in the Newport scandal. He starved millions of Americans on purpose to raise the price of food in a horrificly stupid price fixing scheme. His second VP was an open communist. He appointed a KKK member to the supreme court where he would conduct show trials, holding cases on laws the same KKK member WROTE where the defendant was not allowed to choose his plea or attorney, and ultimately had circumstances result in there being no defense or defendant at all when it got to the Supreme Court.

      The man was a monster in human form.

      • Never was there a better case study in the adage that “history is written by the victor.” If you are the figurehead for an economic power cabal that successfully hijacks the entire power structure of a nation, you will be hailed in that nation’s history books as a savior and a prophet.

  2. My recollection is that Lincoln suspended the writ of habeus corpus to prevent the release of four or five southern sympathizing Maryland state legislators who had been arrested (without warrant) while en route to the state capitol (Annapolis) to vote on a bill of secession. Lincoln was afraid–justifiably so– that if Maryland seceded, it would cut off the national capitol from the rest of the Union. As it was, Maryland was essentially occupied by Union troops throughout the course of the war.

    • Oh yes this makes it completely right what Lincoln did. GTFO sympathisers like you justify any abuse of power in your mind. As long as the ends justify the means right? Why even have a BOR if the President can do whatever he wants, hell why not just have a king?

  3. If you could be forced to surrender gold by executive order, is it a stretch to think that guns could go the same way?

    The Constitution is silent on keeping and bearing gold.

    • I believe the 10th would cover a lot of silent arguments. But then again FDR didnt let crisis go to waste. When the SCOTUS threatened to rein him in he threatened to dilute their votes. Sound familiar?

      His VP was not just a communist he ran for president as a communist. If he died a few years earlier imagine what would of happened.

      Sadly we haven’t heeded Ben Franklin’s warning about keeping our republic.

      • The republic is finished and there are too many irrational, unreasonable people who’ve been put into positions of influence by lazy voters and corrupted money. The days of easy credit and sound money will soon be over and many people will suffer.
        There’s a fight coming, bet on it … but take no bets on your gold, silver, or lead. You’ll need them.

        • Speaking of lazy voters, what will it take for some these folks to realize what’s at stake this for this election? I have a suggestion: all those gun-related, prepper/survival youtube channels need to speak up or speak up more and tell their +100,000 subscribers to get off their asses and 1. Donate to you gun rights orgs, and 2. Vote and get you fam to vote. 2A ain’t going to protect itself from the Dems, Bloomberg billions and the left-media.

    • “The Constitution is silent on keeping and bearing gold.“

      The revolution’s core cause was taxation. The existence of the US is self evident of a right for you to not have your wealth confiscated from you.

      Obviously that unfortunately no longer holds true, and hasn’t for sometime. As income tax, property tax, outright gold confiscations, and other tyrannies are now simply just accepted as the norm and were made “constitutional” by legal gymnastics.

    • The scariest thing about executive orders is brand new, I don’t ever recall even hearing of the possibility before. After Osama declared that he did not have the authority, he nonetheless issued an EO establishing DACA. Then, after a sensible person was elected President, he issued an EO rescinding the previous, and illegal, EO, thereby unestablishing DACA (which had never been even discussed by Congress, before or since). The courts promptly “discovered” that he did not have the authority to issue an EO which countermanded his predecessor’s EO, although I never saw an explanation why not. And Congress has STILL not weighed in, one way or another.

      I am now 74, since I was in my teens it has always been a given that an EO could be cancelled by another EO, even if the original was legal, which this one was not. The only explanation, here (pending someone enlightening me as to what I missed), is that Trump Derangement Syndrome required that a legitimate EO from the duly elected President of the United States be completely ignored in order to exalt his majesty of the thrill up the leg, the Muslim Pretender.

      The original decree by Osama should have been knocked down by the courts within an hour. Congress should have legislated the matter in the first place. And a countermanding Trump EO should have been instantly accepted by both sides of the argument, clearing the way for Congressional action which has STILL not even been hinted. Our entire form of government is being rewritten, except no, it isn’t, NOTHING is being written, voted on, or otherwise decided, just a general, mushy, “whatever the liberals want” national attitude, with only Donald Trump and a few dozen associates even attempting pushback. Pretty sad.

  4. When I read articles like this I see the nightmare of hilliary rotten clintoon and joe obiden going hog wild with firearm related executive orders.
    For those who complain about bump stock contraptions consider the entire rifle being banned outright by the aforementioned demented democRats so weigh your 2 options for when you vote for POTUS.
    Binary Triggers are available to pacify those who want to blast away by a simple flip of the selector much more like the real deal.

    TRUMP/PENCE 2020.

    • If you know nothing about bump stocks then shut up about them… we all know to vote for trump… he’s the best of the two evils..

    • And screw those binary triggers…. the price those companies charge for 20 dollars of material is outrageous…. get that price under a 100 dollars and i’ll buy a couple…. until then….. I’ll get my kicks much cheaper……….

    • Wow delusional much? Trump is going after the whole rifle next. Changing the stock = machine gun. Machine gun = illegal. It pacified no one and we the gun owners again got nothing.

      • I never heard about it, and never will. Just IGNORE it until somebody comes to your door. Because any such orders are Unconstitutional.

  5. Got a short story for everyone.
    I work part-time for for the local NJ school system. We are running a half-day hybrid schedule where the kids are given the choice of in-house or remote learning. The kids coming to school are split into two groups who arrive at school on alternating days. The first two weeks of a new school year is tough on drivers and admin people working with parents and teachers.
    One of our admin people was asked by a tired driver when the split schedule and “shortened days”. The typical “I don’t know” reply was squashed pretty hard when I piped up and said it depended on Emperor Filthy Phil Murphy and another of his decrees. It shortened the conversation quickly and they didn’t have the energy to contest it because their heads are buried too deeply in the sand.

    Millions of people out of work and locked down.
    68% of the moves associated with NJ are OUT OF STATE. Fees and taxes up, revenue down, and tax base leaving.
    It is what it is and will stay that way until we’re all hungry, impoverished, or dead at the whim of another petty decree. To hell with them all ….

  6. Executive orders are only part of the story. The unelected and unaccountable 4th branch of government aka the bureaucratic agencies destroyed a lot of our freedom.

    • S.Crock,


      This is why we need to get reduce the overall size of the Federal Government. Too many agencies, too many beauacrats. Let’s start with ATFE and the Dept of Propa…er….Education.

      • Yes. Watched the revelation the other day about 16,000 warrantless wiretaps by the FBI and there were SEVEN (7) which were legitimate. Bride turns to me and says “We need to reduce the size of the FBI by 50%.” Spot on. With most of those numbers from the top. Once everybody sees how well that works, apply the same to every other agency. With massively fewer numbers, there should be enough actual work to keep them busy without violating our civil rights. If not, cut another 50%.

        And you’re right, just skip all that for ATF and eliminate the entire agency, with annotation that agents are never to be rehired for any purpose. Burger King awaits.

    • Right here. If Congress didn’t abdicate their power to unelected bureaucrats making regulations, the executive orders that direct those bureaucrats wouldn’t matter as much. Instead, some BATFE official gets to make the call about what is “sporting” and importable, etc.

    • It’s funny how the people that are always screaming about some mythical oppression from some random white dudes just trying to work and support their families, are the same people that are constantly trying to expand the oppressive, unaccountable, self-indulgent bureaucracies (funded in part by those random white dudes trying to mind their own business).

  7. Lefturds can try to “executive order” our guns from us. TRY is the operative word. Hard to do with cop’s quitting in droves. AND many of us know where “authorities” reside…fun times after elections. Oh and WATCH the newest Mrgunsngear video! Wonderful demonstration of a homemade silencer made with a Fram oil filter(he he)😀😎😃😏

    • That’s been around for several years. Works great for smaller calibers. Not so much above 9mm. There are lots of ingenious ways to make a surpressor. Which I will not go into on the Interweb. All it takes is an inventive mind and a little testing. Your results may vary. Good Luck and be Safe Out there.

      • You’re a good portion of that. Hey, are you enjoying how your fellow travelers are supporting the cause by buying up all those evil gunms just so they can turn them in to uncle sugar? I bet you believe that, too! You might want to schedule your christmas celebrations prior to 3 Nov, after that you won’t feel very merry.

      • That’s the first coherent thing I’ve seen from you on this article, but you’re right. Between the illegal Covid edicts and the months of riots, it’s been made abundantly clear: the police will do what they are told, irrespective of law or morality

  8. All I know is, I’m not in the President’s (or any other elected official’s) chain of command. I’m not in the military and I’m not employed by the government.

    They can’t tell me to do shit.

    Not without running it past my wife first.

  9. “If you could be forced to surrender gold by executive order, is it a stretch to think that guns could go the same way?”

    It’s probably worth noting that gold doesn’t fire copper jacketed lead at relatively high velocity whereas guns do. One is a safer thing to confiscate than the other.

    Also, most (not all) gold bugs are weirdos with very strange ideas about economics.

    • I’ve been doing a light degree of the “doomsday prepping” thing for a decade now, but I never really got into the hoarding gold part. Yes, gold holds value and has always been used as currency, and would one day be used as currency again when civilization rebuilds, but I’d rather focus my money and effort into surviving that “dark age” time period where all the gold in the world won’t save you if you’re starving, diseased, and ravaged by violent hordes.

      During that time, a stockpile of, or know how of to make food, ammo, booze, and drugs will be worth far more then any precious metal or gem.

      • Basically this.

        You can’t eat, hunt, defend yourself or really do much of anything with gold if SHTF. Now, it’s a great hedge against inflation but that’s not how “gold bugs” tend to see it. They fancy it a post-apocalyptic currency.

        On that I have my doubts. For gold to be a currency you need to have it either minted by a trustworthy source with a reasonable agreed upon value (small coins of set mass/value IOW) or you need the ability to deal with it in other ways which means reliable mass and assay. The latter two are extremely unlikely in the event of SHTF, even if you can do this, can the other people do it or understand what you’re doing to the point that they trust you? Probably not. So that means you’re stuck with a paperweight OR you massively overpay for things because you can’t reliably break down what you have to appropriate masses to do business.

        Selco Begovic has written about this happening during the Balkan War. Gold bugs either got ripped off for merchandise by, well effectively warlords, or if they refused the “deal” were murdered, the gold was taken and the body discarded. Either way, war lords accumulate massive amounts of gold, silver, jewelry etc by selling basic necessities at huge markups and when peace is reestablished sell the commodities for whatever the new cash is, becoming immensely wealthy.

        Personally, I’d rather spend money filling space with food, ammo, clothing, fuel, weapons and my brain with skills. The latter there being the real bargaining chip you allude to in your post. The guy who can brew safe liquor, make basic medications and fix a radio or an engine is worth keeping around and trading with. The gold bug is the dude you shoot, take the gold (maybe) and see if he’s got anything else you want because he’s a useless twat who thought shiny paperweights were a good idea in post-apocalyptia.

        IMHO, outside being a general hedge in a basket of investments gold has a very narrow usage which is hyper-inflation that doesn’t cause serious unrest but also doesn’t cause the government to want your gold. That’s a darn narrow band and outside that band gold is just a pretty, conductive transition metal with good ductility, reasonable density that doesn’t oxidize under normal conditions. Unfortunately it’s dense enough that it’s hard to move significant amounts of it so fleeing the country with bullion if it all comes down seems pointless to me unless you have a private aircraft or yacht in which case WTF are you doing here as it all goes down?. If fleeing is your plan a passport and foreign bank accounts in various currencies make more sense.

        • “Selco Begovic has written about this happening during the Balkan War”

          Oh, yeah. Like how gasoline was highly sought-after. Only problem is, for most folks, rotating a stockpile becomes a logistical PITA. After a year or so, it deteriorates.

          Ammo is a good idea, if one is bright enough not to have it used against the owner of the stash…

        • You can get three years out of stabilized fuel if you stabilize it immediately upon getting it and store it properly.

          STA-BIL and Star Tron will both last reliably for larger engine-starts for at least two years if you put them into freshy fresh gasoline. Both are guaranteed for 24 months provided you put them into only the freshest, non-GMO, ethically sourced, pump to tank motor fuels.

          You can also use old gas provided that it’s not contaminated. 1:1 works well for most things except vehicles because they require more power on startup. A 75% new, 25% old will work reliably in any car/truck engine going back… basically forever but will cost you a bit on mileage. 1:1 will work reliably with most generators and power tools.

      • I thought about the gold thing for a while. But if you have a farmers market economy after the collapse what good will a Krugerrand do you? You need 2 pounds of flour and some beans and all you have is coins worth hundreds to thousands.

        I decided to stock up on what is called ‘junk’ silver. Silver coins that were in circulation and have no collectors value. I have bags of dimes, quarters halves and silver dollars in my safe.

        I would prefer not to barter things like ammo or medical supplies until I have no other option.

      • Right? Shoot a werewolf with gold and you’re just giving him/her bling.

        Dunno what happens if you shoot a werewolf with tungsten. I guess it depends largely on how big the projectile is?

        • Tungsten density is lower than lead, but formed as a penetrator, it should breeze through any level III vest the werewolf has on… 😉

    • Yes? Clearly it’s self-evident that’s not going to happen. It doesn’t change the fact that voting in opposition to him is suicidally lacking in foresight, and a true disconnect with reality. Unless we are ready to start voting from the rooftops.

    • “Could Trump sign a bunch of executive orders protecting 2A?”

      And the next president could cancel them on the first day of their term in office…

  10. Executive orders, Congress and the Courts aside, there is the political Right & the political Left, Rights & privileges, right & wrong. I have free will and I will choose for myself on which side to stand, to what I will or will not comply with. I will live with or die from the consequences of my own actions. LONG LIVE THE REPUBLIC

  11. Wilson knew what he was doing, people hunting in California with torches might start a fire. hmnnn thinking,,,,, fires in city’s, fires in forest, who starting fires in city’s? “Ahhhh,, so now I see” it’s “Them”

  12. No talk of Bush Senior’s or Clinton’s executive orders on gun control?

    “In 1989, then President George H.W. Bush issued an executive order halting the importation of some semi-automatic firearms after a mass school shooting Stockton, California. He based his executive order on the 1968 Gun Control Act and used it to ban the shipment of what could be considered “assault weapons” unless they were used for sporting purposes. ”

    “In 1998, then President Bill Clinton also issued an executive order to ban the importation of more than 50 semiautomatic “assault weapons” that had been modified to get through that “sporting purposes” exemption.

    In 2001, Clinton moved again via executive order, banning the importation of assault pistols.”

      • Glad I bought a Shitload in the 80’s when it was cheap. Lots of 30 cal, 308 and 45 out of Ft. Leonard Wood. Been caching for close to forty years. If done correctly the shelf life is unlimited, Still shooting some on occasion for training. Works great in the WWII and Korea era weapons in the collection as well as the modern stuff. Turns out now it has become money in the bank as I don’t own a 45, but know several that do and is be gobbled up. Keep Your Powder Dry.

  13. Trump is not a friend of the 2A.

    Of course, no politician is – their only goal is to remain in power and firearms equalize some of that power.

  14. and I give you DACA the worst thing to ever leave the whitehouse!!!!!!!!!

    the darn this is a mutant that is now constitutional law to allow others that NEVER gained any legal standing to BE in the USA to have rights to everything we made/own or are taxed because of ‘FEELZ’

    If only the feds or the other 49 states saw the need to enact prop 187 (voting year 1994) from California nationwide instead of killing it

    the whole mess would never exist as it does now with 20 million tax sucking leeches!

  15. Our Freedoms are not/ have not been taken. They have been Willingly Ceded by a Citizenry who is Fat, Lazy and has forgotten what it means to be Free. The inconvenience of paying attention to what has occurred over the last several decades in regards to Our Freedoms has been replaced by a desire to “Live the American Dream”. Which once included a desire to be Free. Now it’s only concern is being a slave to the all mighty dollar and a unhealthy addiction to technology. Unless the Citizenry wakes up from the “Dream” it will soon be living the Nightmare of Tyranny. Keep Your Powder Dry.

  16. The use of EO to take away civil rights today would cause a civil war. This is not 1942. Americans aren’t loyal to the government. They’re loyal to family and friends. A “Katrina type” confiscation won’t happen again without cops and or soldiers being shot dead. The mayors in Seattle, Portland and others like them, have shown there is no reason to believe they care about their citizens. The city leadership is immoral. Honest people don’t have to follow their demands.

    Civil order will break down if Kyle Rittenhouse goes to prison.

    • Civil order has already broken down in the socialist territories, funded and driven by the socialist hierarchy.This is just a rehearsal for after the election. I expect attacks against any opposition will be picking up.

  17. People seem to miss the fact that once the Socialist Party (“Socialist” in what was once the US is a polite term for The Legal Front for Organized Crime) is in power there will be no Constitution, no Democratic Republic. Within the first 4 years it’ll be rule by a totalitarian government. The law will be whatever they like. And, yes, the Military and The National Police Force will do what they are told as well.


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