Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
A lawsuit by Freedom Watch director Larry Klayman asks a federal court to order the Obama Gun Control Task Force to halt its meetings and the implementation of any of its recommendations.
The American people “will continue to suffer permanent and irreparable injury” unless the task force is brought into compliance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the complaint, filed today in Florida court, states.
Klayman, a longtime monitor of government activity who earlier founded Judicial Watch and made a name for himself suing Bill and Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and a slew of foreign dictators, earlier wrote Obama a letter asking him to abide by the federal law in his establishment of a team to advise him on gun control.
Klayman, whose cases against Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have made headlines, became so well-known that a character in the TV series “West Wing,” Harry Klaypool, was based on him.
He told WND that the case was brought in the Middle District of Florida alleging the Obama White House “had a duty to the American people to provide at least 15 days notice to the public of the meetings which [Joe] Biden has been chairing to recommend so-called gun control measures following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.”
“In their zeal to use this tragedy for political purposes and to try to ram quickly increased legislative gun control measures, if not gun confiscation and/or significant infringement through executive order, down the throats of the American people – in violation of Second Amendment rights – President Obama and Vice President Biden have thumbed their nose at the law and instead been holding closed door meetings with special interest lobbyists on both sides of the issue,” Klayman charged.
“The American people, whose rights to gun ownership stem from colonial times and are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, are being illegally shut out of the process. In this regard, on January 7, 2013, Freedom Watch demanded in writing that the 15 days notice be provided and that Larry Klayman and it be permitted to be present and participate on behalf of the American people.”
But Klayman noted that his legal demand didn’t generate a response.
“As result our complaint demands that the meetings be opened up fully to members of the public who request, upon proper and timely notice by the Gun Control Task Force, the right to participate, and that if the administration fails to comply immediately that the court order that the Gun Control Task Force be shut down and its recommendations, which are due to be issued tomorrow, be declared illegal and enjoined from implementation,” Klayman said.
“There simply is no excuse for the president and vice president, as occurred with its Obamacare federal advisory committee, to make gun policy exclusively with lobbyists. Open government is more honest government.”
The complaint names Obama, Biden, the task force and “John and Jane Does.”
Klayman’s complaint explains that “by designating this newly formed task force, which is a presidential advisory committee, de jure and/or de facto, defendant Obama has made the meetings subject to the provisions of FACA.”
Under those requirements, an advisory committee must “publish within the Federal Registry notice of an meeting 15 days prior to that meeting, and the meetings must be made open to members of the public who seek access pursuant to FACA, as plaintiff did herein.”
But the complaint notes that while Obama designated the advisory team on Dec. 19, its first meeting was Dec. 20.
“It has been widely reported and disclosed by the national media that non-federal employees, including lobbyists from the video game industry, Walmart, and other private lobbyists … fully participated in non-public meetings of the OGCTF as if they were members.”
Obama’s failure to meet the federal requirements means that the White House has “deprived plaintiff of its right, granted by the FACA, to participate in meetings held by the OGCTF, to have advance notice of those meetings, and to have a voice in the affairs of the OGCTF on behalf of the American people.”
Obama had said a comprehensive approach is needed to reduce the nation’s gun violence – much more than just resurrecting an expired ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.
So he appointed Biden to a working group to look at proposals such as universal background checks for gun buyers, government tracking of the movement of weapons and stiffer penalties. A number of executive orders are expected to be announced tomorrow.
The reaction follows the massacre in Newtown, Conn., in which 20-year-old Adam Lanza is accused of killing his mother, then going to a nearby school and killing 20 children and another five adults.
Klayman earlier took the White House to task over a nearly identical issue: an advisory committee assembled by Obama to advise him on the new tax requirements in Obamacare.
The case, before U.S. District Judge Richard W. Roberts, remains in the courts.
Klayman is challenging Obama to provide details about White House advisory groups that worked for Obama. The case was brought over the Obama Health Reform De Facto Advisory Committee and whether the White House complied with the Federal Advisory Committee Act in consulting with lobbying groups and industry interests in creating the Obamacare tax plan.
The judge said some claims over the compliance were dismissed as moot as the advisory group no longer met once Obamacare’s taxes were adopted by Congress. But he said remaining is the claim for minutes of the committee’s past meetings.
When Obama wanted the case dismissed, the judge said Freedom Watch’s argument that the information about the committee’s past meetings is sparse “had merit.”
“The declaration does not present any reasonably full list of the names of the participants, but only identifies a few examples of attendees and then refers to a website that does not purport to present any comprehensive record of the discussions,” the judge wrote.
“More significantly, the declaration fails to provide enough details to permit an assessment of whether the individuals who participated in the health care reform discussions were asked to render collective advice or produce any other type of collaborative work product.
“The record as it stands therefore is insufficient to support summary judgment,” he said.