So Barack Hussein Obama broke the law again. On Jan. 4, Obama rewrote the nation’s laws on gun sales and purchases and background checks for firearms purchasers. Obama issued executive actions directed to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) to change how ATF interprets existing laws. Since ATF enforces those laws, the new interpretation will be treated as being the new, actual law.
Obama taught constitutional law as an instructor (not a professor). What we don’t know is which nation’s constitution Obama was actually teaching at the University of Chicago law school. It does not appear that it was the United States Constitution he has ever read. Perhaps it was the so-called constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, where guns are banned under its vicious anti-Christian and anti-Semitic dictatorship.
When Freedom Watch filed a legal challenge to Obama’s similar executive action grant of amnesty to illegal aliens, I stood before the trial judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and explained to Judge Beryl Howell that this is not only about illegal immigration. I said then, over one year ago, that this is about the rule of law and the Constitution. I warned in December 2014 that such abuses of the Constitution are going to expand. And ironically, today as I write this, Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court is in conference over whether to take up that case on “appeal.” We expect to hear an announcement no later than early next week.
Under current laws as Congress passed them, a dealer in the business of buying and selling guns must register and become licensed. But someone who is not earning a livelihood or engaging in a for-profit business to trade in guns does not need to get a license or register. A collector (such as antique guns), hobbyist, or private citizen just buying or selling a gun is exempt from licensing. (There is no gun show exemption. A dealer has the same requirements whether in his or her store or as an exhibitor in a gun show.)
But now President Obama has ordered the ATF to change how it interprets these laws. Now, a “dealer” can effectively be anyone who buys and sells guns even if it is not their business or livelihood. Someone who buys or sells just one gun might be treated as a dealer.
Worse, the factors that will be considered are subjective and vague. That means that a person cannot know for sure if he is violating the law or not (if he has to be licensed and conduct background checks). A law is typically struck down as “void for vagueness” if it leaves people unsure whether their conduct will be illegal or legal.
A dealer must perform a background check of a would-be purchaser, if they are licensed or should have gotten a license. But Obama, by effectively changing the definition of who is a “dealer,” is now requiring almost anyone to get a license and perform background checks, even if they are not in the gun business. Collecting guns or antiques or giving a gun to a relative might require a license.
A background check is designed to block someone who has been officially adjudicated by a court of law as mentally incapacitated, convicted of a felony, convicted of any domestic violence (misdemeanor or felony), or ordered by a restraining order to refrain from violence, among other categories. But those who are prohibited from buying guns receive due process in a court of law before they lose their fundamental constitutional rights under the Second Amendment.
But here again, Obama has ordered ATF to reinterpret the laws and enforce Obama’s new interpretation. Obama, like Democrats for years, wants to prohibit people from buying or owning guns if they have unspecified, vaguely defined mental health “issues.” That means that no court has ever given them due process. Our constitutional-law-lecturing albeit legally ineligible president should know the difference between someone who gets his day in court and someone losing constitutional rights merely because a bureaucrat puts a note in his file.
Obama, on Jan. 4, ordered the Social Security Administration, for example, to report to the NICS database people receiving disability payments who might have mental health issues. Obama is moving to require doctors to report their patients. So now just being momentarily depressed – without having your day in court – could cost you, and everyone else living with you, the right to have a gun in the house. Of course, oppressive countries – like one of Obama’s favorites, Iran – have also routinely designated dissidents as mentally ill to suppress their rights.
And all of this comes from Obama’s pen. Remember, “How a bill becomes a law”? Most teenagers grew up knowing that Congress enacts bills and the president either signs or vetoes them. Obama apparently missed those “Schoolhouse Rock” mini-lessons while living as a Muslim in Indonesia. Perhaps in Indonesian schools, children learned about how a corrupt national dictator issues a decree.
As a result, I am preparing a new lawsuit to strike down Obama’s assault on the Second Amendment as unconstitutional or at least illegal. For one thing, when an agency like ATF uses one interpretation for many years and then suddenly does an abrupt about-face and adopts a totally new and different interpretation, that can qualify as “arbitrary and capricious.” Under the Administrative Procedures Act, the change can be illegal. While the courts do defer (too much) to federal agencies, two opposite interpretations of the law cannot both be correct. A change motivated by nothing but Obama’s personal politics is legally invalid under the APA.
I am an owner of guns in Florida for my own protection, all properly licensed and permitted. I have sued terrorist organizations and countries that support terrorism. Especially while litigating against the Clintons, I have had many death threats, even having someone appear suddenly at my house and Judicial Watch offices during the 1990s. If I need to buy, sell, trade, or gift a gun like any other American concerned about safety, these new rules will most definitely “infringe” upon the right to keep and bear arms that the Second Amendment says cannot be infringed.
I am like you, someone who wants to protect himself and his family. I want my constitutional rights respected and look to the courts to do the right thing. Obama, as was true with his illegal immigration executive orders, cannot be allowed to act like a king! As our Founding Father and later President John Adams declared in advocating for the Declaration of Independence, before he also participated in fashioning the Second Amendment, We the People were to be a nation of laws and not men, so help us God.
Media wishing to interview Larry Klayman, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.