Federalist: John Kasich Can’t Just Suspend Ohio’s Gun Laws

Via The Federalist:

As the Republican National Convention began in Cleveland, prominent Democrats joined with local police in calling for Ohio Gov. John Kasich to suspend the state’s open-carry law during the convention.

Sherrod Brown, a progressive Democrat who represents Ohio in the U.S. Senate, went even further in an interview with BuzzFeed, saying he “hope[s] that the governor would listen to the police union and suspend conceal and open carry in Ohio, in Cleveland, during this convention.”

Brown, who is often mentioned as a contender for the Democrats’ vice-presidential nomination, makes the usual gun controller mistake of imagining the best way to prevent crime is to take firearms out of the people’s hands. But he makes other mistakes that show either a lack of understanding of how a republic functions, or else a shocking disregard for it.

First, Brown and other Democrats assume the executive has power to unilaterally suspend the laws. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the issue of suspending the laws without legislative consent was decided nearly a century before the creation of the American republic. In 1689, Great Britain was convulsed in a brief civil war known as the Glorious Revolution, in which most of the country sided with Parliament and forced the abdication of a king, James II, who sought to usurp their rights and rule as an absolute monarch. Among the rights James claimed was the power to suspend the laws without the consent of Parliament…

In America, we carried that principle into our own Constitution—many of the restrictions on our chief executive were written in response to the abuses of the Stuart dynasty in England. Where English kings claimed “prerogatives” like suspending the laws were an inherent part of the monarch’s power, our Founding Fathers wrote a Constitution that limited the executive’s powers to those specifically granted to him. The authors of state constitutions followed suit in restricting an executive’s powers. Ohio’s constitution is even more explicit than the federal version, stating “No power of suspending laws shall ever be exercised, except by the General Assembly.”

The reasons for this are obvious. An executive’s foremost job is, as the U.S. Constitution says, to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” In a system such as ours, governance is separated to avoid too much power falling into one person’s hands; the legislature writes the laws, the executive carries them out. If a president or governor could strike laws from the statute book at a whim, even temporarily, that executive would have usurped the powers of the legislature.

If Kasich can suspend Ohio’s gun laws, then a President Hillary Clinton could as easily suspend any of the anti-kickback laws that keep politicians from enriching themselves from government contractors. There would be no need for Hillary to hide her dealings on a secret server: just suspend the corruption laws and steal right out in the open.

Read more here.