WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement in response to reports that the president intends to take executive action to restrict gun ownership in America:
"Ever since he was a candidate, President Obama’s dismissiveness toward Americans who value the Second Amendment has been well-documented. He acts as if the right to bear arms is something to be tolerated, when in truth – as the Supreme Court reaffirmed in 2008 – it is fundamental. The same goes for the Constitution and its limits on executive power.
"We all are pained by the recent atrocities in our country, but no change the president is reportedly considering would have prevented them. We have seen consistently that an underlying cause of these attacks has been mental illness, and we should look at ways to address this problem. We should also better enforce the laws we have on the books now to keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals. Instead, the president is again targeting law-abiding citizens, intruding further into innocent Americans' lives. At a time when the country wants the president to lead the fight against radical Islamic terror, this is yet another attempt to divide and distract from his failed policies.
"While we don’t yet know the details of the plan, the president is at minimum subverting the legislative branch, and potentially overturning its will. His proposals to restrict gun rights were debated by the United States Senate, and they were rejected. No president should be able to reverse legislative failure by executive fiat, not even incrementally. The American people deserve a president who will respect their constitutional rights – all of them. This is a dangerous level of executive overreach, and the country will not stand for it."