I'll admit, President Obama is an effective professor of the Constitution. Since his inauguration, I've researched the Constitution and how he bends and twists it more than the 50 years previous. One of my core beliefs is government, especially at the federal level, is unable to legislate morality, and trying to "correct" certain societal problems generally breeds unintended consequences that harm or curtail the rights of people. The cure can be worse than the problem.
In the past, our government defined these ills and worked, thoughtfully, to find comprehensive solutions. The Obama philosophy has been to find a crisis, and generate an "expedient" atmosphere. It's been used for health care, for the fiscal cliff, for the Gulf oil spill, for international relationships, and corporate bailouts. When Congress is unwilling or unable to move, he has taken the lead through the Executive Order. So I've researched the history and use of the Executive Order. I was surprised it is not a royal decree.
It is a non-specific option of the Executive branch (not spelled out in the Constitution) which, historically, defined and translated the laws created in Congress (Harry Truman used it to integrate the military); or created policies for the Administration of the government (such as hiring union employees, vs contracting services). It is not intended as a by-pass or challenge of the Legislative branch; but a quick definition and use of existing laws and policies.
However, the Obama Administration is planning to use the "crisis" of Newtown, CT. Columbine, the movie theater in Denver, and carnage everywhere; but somehow this tragedy presents the necessary crisis. It is opportunity. Vice President Biden is making recommendations, assigned by the President. In a stroke of "efficiency", he will present those recommendations the day after President Obama is inaugurated, to not lose momentum, and the reminder he is still the President.
The expectation is an Executive Order will follow, which will not correspond to any existing laws, but ignore the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the Constitution. I know there's a national debate over the meaning of parts of this Amendment, but it truly means people have the right to defend themselves (including from their own government) and Congress (or Executive Order) cannot infringe on that right. The Founding Fathers assumed another revolution may need to happen somewhere along the way, and citizens should have the strength to remind the government of that possibility.
The most scary thing in our society today is the emotionally questionable individual, who ignores the laws and regulations already in place to protect law-abiding citizens, who uses any means possible to inflict harm on random people while rationalizing it is good and necessary. You can ask whether or not that individual is Adam Lanza of Newtown, or Joe Biden of Washington DC. We are either a nation of laws, or a nation of victims.
I presume that, if such an Executive Order is made, this will end with a challenge in the Supreme Court, and that was another brilliant creation of our Constitution.