Gun Control

Lawsuit Filed Over Obama's Executive Actions on Guns

Freedom Watch's Larry Klayman claims Obama's proposed changes to gun dealer and mental health definitions violate Second Amendment rights and administrative procedure laws.


Larry Klayman of the litigious Freedom Watch filed yesterday what seems to be the first lawsuit challenging President Obama's recently announced executive actions to toughen certain elements of gun law enforcement. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida  (I reported on the threat of such suits earlier this month.)

Here is his group's press release on the suit, which sums up his complaint:

Obama has ordered ATF to redefine, in its enforcement activities, who is a "dealer" in firearms "engaged in the business of selling firearms." The change of interpretation now sweeps up persons who do not seek to earn a livelihood or make a profit, who buy or sell as few as one or two guns a year. Worse, the new rules are so vague and subjective that Klayman challenges them as "void for vagueness." Being treated as a dealer now creates the obligation to conduct background checks for those sales.

Similarly, Obama is changing under such background checks a person prohibited from buying a gun from one formally adjudicated by a court of law to be mentally incompetent to anyone who – vaguely – has a mental health "issue." Thus, the due process protection of a court ruling is being lost. Obama ordered the Social Security Administration to report to the firearm background check database people on disability payments for reasons that may indicate "issues" of mental health. Obama is working to require doctors to report those with (poorly defined) issues. Everyone living in the same household may lose the right to possess a gun.

The complete filing. Key elements of why Klayman thinks Obama must be stopped:

Plaintiff sues the Defendants in this civil action for the abridgement of his fundamental rights under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Plaintiff seeks a Declaratory Judgment, and preliminary and permanent injunctions. Plaintiff also challenges the executive branch action under the Nondelegation Doctrine…..

The Defendants' rewriting of laws burdening and abridging the fundamental rights of the Plaintiff and other U.S. citizens under the Second Amendment by the President and his executive branch is unconstitutional, illegal under the Administrative Procedures Act, and ultra vires under the applicable laws and the Second Amendment…

Even where Congress has granted authority to the executive branch, these particular programs are ultra vires, exceeding the bounds of authority delegated by the Congress. These violations include the Defendants fundamentally transforming the definition of key terms so as to invent a different regime of regulation of firearms through changed interpretations, albeit illegal changes, of current law….

Arguing in the the alternative (legal lingo for "even if you think I'm wrong about that…") Klayman's suit further maintains Obama is still in the wrong because he:

must first go through rigid rule-making procedures under the Administrative Procedures Act ("APA"). The President cannot simply announce sweeping new rules and implement them by giving a speech or issuing an executive memorandum.

Later in the suit, Klayman nervously notes that the "smart gun" tech Obama is also pushing research toward might one day be used to remotely disable all privately owned guns.

The defendants are Obama, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and BATFE head Thomas Brandon. The relief Klayman seeks:

that the Court with regard to each and every Defendant: (1) Enter a preliminary injunction to halt implementation until the Court can hear all parties and enter a decision on a preliminary injunction; and (2) Enter a permanent injunction declaring the new gun control programs ordered on January 4, 2016, to be unlawful and unconstitutional , as well award such other forms of equitable relief as may be appropriate, attorneys' fees and costs, and such other relief the Court may deem just and proper.

Coverage today also from The Hill and World Net DailyThe Hill predicts the likelihood of more such suits.

Reason on Klayman, including his valuable lawsuit against the NSA, and his more curious call for a revolution against our allegedly Muslim Shariah-imposing president.