If you're among the waning number of Americans watching Fox News these days, you're aware of the faux fainting spells among its show hosts about Joe Biden's so-called exorbitant use of government "fiat," otherwise known as executive orders.
(In case you need a reality check, Barack Obama in two terms signed 276. Donald Trump in one term signed 220. Joe Biden by early April had signed 38.)
Well, get ready for the howls to begin anew, as Biden shows again that he won't be cowed by right-wing pundits or the shamelessly conniving GOP led by Minority Senate Leader Mitch McConnell.
On Thursday in the face of Republican-stalled bills languishing in the Senate, Biden announced his newest orders — modest gun regulations aimed at slowing gun violence. Such measures have taken on new urgency after recent mass shootings in Boulder, Colorado, and an Atlanta suburb.
In the Rose Garden just after noon, Biden prefaced his announcement with this: "Nothing in what I'm about to recommend impinges on the 2nd Amendment. Nothing ... Gun violence in this country is an epidemic. And it's an international embarrassment."
In all, the president announced a half-dozen executive actions, including regulations on home-assembled firearms and the nomination of a former federal officer and gun-control advocate to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Biden directed Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Justice Department:
* To issue a tentative rule meant to "help stop the proliferation" of ghost guns — devices without serial numbers, sold in kits and assembled at home;
* To draft policy to scrutinize arm braces that help steady AR-15-style pistols, making the pistols functionally identical to short-barrel rifles, though far less regulated;
* To craft a template for states to enact red-flag laws, which empower a judge to keep firearms from people determined to be a threat to themselves or others;
* To issue a report on gun trafficking —something not done in two decades;
* To direct more funding from federal agencies and departments toward community violence intervention programs.
The president also nominated David Chipman — a veteran ATF special agent who worked on gun-trafficking operations and investigations into the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing — to lead the bureau, a key agency in the fight against gun violence that has gone without a permanent director since 2015.
For the past five years, Chipman has served as senior policy adviser at Giffords, an advocacy group led by former Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, who was injured in a 2011 mass shooting.
The moves fall short of steps Biden has pressured Congress to take, but they make good on his pledge last month to take "common-sense" steps on his own.
Biden has been front-and-center in pushing for common-sense gun regulation for more than three decades, from the temporary triumph of a 10-year ban on assault weapons in 1994 to the disappointment of a failed push for universal background checks in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre.
The recent shootings in Georgia and Colorado — and a new one Wednesday night at the home of a prominent South Carolina doctor — raised the question inside the West Wing over how much political capital Biden should expend on gun rules, according to CNN. Clearly, now, like former President Barack Obama, Biden has determined that executive actions are a more viable vehicle for progress given the narrowly divided Congress and a slate of other pressing priorities.
"This is just a start," Biden said Thursday.
We hope so. But bear in mind that Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee also on Thursday signed into law recent legislation that allows Tennesseans to carry a handgun without a permit. And the Tennessee House just this week passed a bill that lawmakers hope would let the General Assembly seek or claim exemption to presidential executive orders.
As Biden said: "We've got a long way to go. It seems like we've always got a long way to go."
Of the GOP's stranglehold on gun safety, Biden said: "They have offered plenty of thoughts and prayers, but they have passed not a single federal law to reduce gun violence." We can certainly say the same for Tennessee's empty suits.
We're with Biden, who summed up Thursday's announcement: "Enough prayers. Time for some action."