Federal Lawsuit Filed Against Gun Control Executive Orders

gun control executive order

The Freedom Watch has filed a lawsuit to fight the recent executive orders signed by the President to expand the background check system without Congressional approval. The lawsuit argues that the executive orders are outside of the scope of the President’s authority and circumvent Congress.

“[President] Obama has ordered ATF to redefine, in its enforcement activities, who is a ‘dealer’ in firearms ‘engaged in the business of selling firearms,'” said the Freedom Watch’s Larry Klayman in a press release. “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.'”

“The president states that he is doing so purely because he does not like the legislative decisions of the Congress,” said Klayman. “These actions are unconstitutional abuses of the president’s and executive branch’s role in our nation’s constitutional architecture and exceed the powers of the president as set forth in the US Constitution.”

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida and alleges that the reinterpretation of existing law that could be used to force individuals to obtain Federal Firearms Licenses as gun dealers or pay the consequences for selling guns without a license.

According to the ATF (.pdf), “The penalty for dealing in firearms without a license is up to five years in prison, a fine up to $250,000, or both.”

See Also: Obama Unveils Executive Orders to ‘Reduce Gun Violence’

There is no federal “bright line” between gun dealer and individual selling guns, rather, the ATF defines a gun dealer as anyone who “devotes time, attention and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms.”

do you need an ffl

Do you need an FFL? The ATF’s position is a hard “maybe.”

Whether or not the executive orders change the way the some of the law is applied or enforced is debatable, and only one part of the lawsuit.

The Freedom Watch is also challenging the lawsuit’s new standards for “prohibited person,” also on grounds of vagueness. The executive orders tap health records from the Social Security Administration to expand the list of prohibited persons beyond the scope of the original law.

People who have been “adjudicated as a mental defective” are already considered prohibited persons and may not purchase firearms.

“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,'” added Klayman. “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.”

About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. His ambition is to follow Thomas Paine, as a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Duck life August 16, 2018, 9:38 pm

    Obama announces executive orders to \’reduce gun violence\’. Gun violence cases are on the rise.

  • Dusty January 26, 2016, 7:37 pm

    In a recent discussion, a point was made that the President has enjoyed vast emergency powers (granted by the SCOTUS) to take executive action since the terms of Franklin Roosevelt. I am told that those powers have not been rescinded. (One of Roosevelt’s ill-advised emergency order executive actions was the internment of Japanese citizens during WWII- not one of our shining moments in world history… but hey he meant well I’m sure…) In my own life I recall Nixon alleging he had not broken the law because those same emergency powers allowed him to do as he wished.
    We are SUPPOSED to have a federal government of three equal houses, providing checks and balances to each other. Doesn’t seem to be that way any longer.
    In re: term limits… How are we going to get a congressman to introduce legislation to seek a Constitutional amendment to change term limits? Seems unlikely doesn’t it? We don’t really have a national referendum system to argue for any such amendment, and I doubt Congress is likely to propose that either.

  • James Candler January 23, 2016, 2:57 am

    Obama is America’s biggest enemy. He is defeating us from within. If we let him finish his term, we may be finished as well.
    He needs to be physically removed and prosecuted for Treason against the US. He has aided the enemy, and done everything he can to make America weak including financially bankrupting this country so we can never recover!! It is the largest crime this country could ever sustain. It is a sin for him to be in office. He should be hung!!!

    • Peter January 23, 2016, 10:47 pm

      Unfortunately He (Obama) is just a mouth piece for the real Criminals! Even if he was removed, the only thing that would change is the sound of his voice.

    • Nathan Arft January 28, 2016, 3:27 pm

      Your comments imply violence towards our current President. You are either a troll or an unstable individual. This country’s financial troubles started long before his presidency and will continue regardless of the sitting presidents party or race. You mention nothing about firearms in your comment and they do nothing to help the 2nd amendment. This site is not meant for you to spout your personal ideologies.

  • Jason Blankovich January 22, 2016, 1:08 pm

    The vagueness will allow the Obama driven ATF to select several individuals who have made regular purchases and sales on gunbroker or other sites or someone who has taken a table at a gun show several times during the year and prosecute them into the ground. This will be part of a planned chilling of individuals selling guns. Obama will don ANYTHING he can to stop gun sales up to and including arresting and vigorously prosecuting a few, unfortunate, innocent people and ruining their lives and finances while making a huge example of them. If this does happen this action would be yet another reason that Obama should be impeached and removed; I don’t care if this is his last year in office. He’s a dangerous, America hating Marxist.

  • James Milnamow January 22, 2016, 11:52 am

    How long does it take to add a posting? I am waiting to see it especially since there are only 17 listed.

  • James Milnamow January 22, 2016, 11:46 am

    Every politician should be removed from office as a minimum sentence for breach of their “Oath of Office”. Prosecutions should be started by a court for the protection of the Constitution especially when it comes to the “Bill of Rights” for the protection of the people who have elected representatives and should not have to file the charges because we the people are already paying their salaries. This must be stopped because the same rights of the people are continuously attacked. We the people need to start to feel more comfortable with the protection of our rights before it is too late. Whether these same politicians do not seem to understand that Americans have had enough and need to be reimbursed for all these back court actions.

    • Steve January 22, 2016, 6:36 pm

      totally agree! its scary that the law part of the govt. hasn’t done a thing!!! if we do not learn by the past , then we are doomed to relive it!

  • Libertarian January 22, 2016, 11:22 am

    When the HELL are the leftist elites in government going to get it through their thick heads: Congress WON’T pass their stupid gun control measures because the PEOPLE DO NOT WANT THEM, and those in Congress know they will not get re-elected if they vote for this crap. Of course, it’s the milquetoasts in Congress that should have IMPEACHED this traitorous “president” YEARS ago, so they are nothing to write home about either…

  • Jeremiah January 22, 2016, 10:24 am

    “The president states that he is doing so purely because he does not like the legislative decisions of the Congress…”

    This, from a president who has obstinately gone out of his way for more than seven years to mulishly avoid working with Congress, and who is perhaps the most ill-advised and uneducated individual ever to inhabit the White House.

  • Kimberpross January 22, 2016, 10:16 am

    Obama is grasping for straws to add meaningful actions (In the liberal worlds perspective) to his legacy. I am sure there will be more in the comping months. “Look at me, look at me, look how powerful I am, look at what I have done history!”

  • Gary M January 22, 2016, 9:27 am

    If this trend continues the purpose of Congress will become irrelevant. Right now they are allowing their powers to be absorbed by the Executive branch and are therefore in violation of their Constitutional Oaths to Preserve, Protect and Defend the Constitution of the United States”. There are three issues here. 1. the left’s desire to get the guns, 2. the Executive Branch circumventing Congress and 3. the failure of our elected official to do the job they were elected to do. All three issues are potentially VERY threatening to our freedoms.

  • Jay January 22, 2016, 9:22 am

    In order for a government which seeks tyranny over constitutional rule which restricts them, they need enemies! They want the citizens to be in fear of anything, so that the citizen will rally behind them and want the same thing. Therefore the government will invent those enemies to mobilize the citizen and before you know it, you are a serf under their control!

  • mike ryan January 22, 2016, 8:38 am

    Every time someone goes on a shooting spree, they want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it.
    William S. Burroughs
    GUN CONTROL–The theory that becoming a victim is somehow morally superior to defending yourself and your family.

  • Jeremiah January 22, 2016, 8:22 am

    “The president states that he is doing so purely because he does not like the legislative decisions of the Congress,”

    This from a president that, for seven plus years, has completely failed to work with Congress on any piece of legislation that the Senate sent to him.

  • Jim January 22, 2016, 7:50 am

    CONTROL! CONTROL! CONTROL! POWER CORRUPTS! ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY! These control freaks sitting in Washington, DC, are obsessed with taking “RIGHTS” away from the folks. The hmfic thinks all he has to do is take out his “pen” and DICTATE what will be. He needs to have his feathers trimmed. It’s going to take more action than many of the politicians we have elected to act in our behalf, are willing to put forth. The best course of action….NO INCUMBENTS ELECTED EVER AGAIN! One chance at public service….then you go back to being just like the rest of the folks. No more rosy benefits, pensions, or ANY other taxpayer funded bennies. One term in public office, then you go back to living like the rest of us real people. NO MORE GRAFT, EVER. PERIOD! There definitely needs to be a few new laws written, however, not about how to control the folks, but how to control the politicians. They are out of control. Two prime examples of politicians who need to be controlled are dumBO, and hillybilly. These aren’t the only two, but just an example of where we need to start. One, five year term for any politician, rotate 20% of house and senate out each year. No campaigning until 30 days before election. NO INCUMBENTS. No re-election to ANY other public office. Just a thought. What’s yours?

    • ed January 22, 2016, 8:17 am

      Well Jim read your message here an I do agree for the most part all of the above , sure WILL stop some idiots for sure = but to limit them forever , WELL not so fast = some are great people an great ideas however id say give them a break FROM OFFICE for a couple of years WITH NO FEDERAL BENNIES = an let them retry to be revoted in BY THE PEOPLE !!!
      NO MORE LIFETIME MEMBERS either an for those that are not present 10% of their job there OUSTED OUT !! an NO MORE COMING BACK == unless by proof there was a situation that needed to be taken care of such as family member being sick or themselves so as NOT to be AT WORK !!! NO MORE part timers with full bennies !!
      We do NEED to change many of the laws an stipulations of those that serve US THE PEOPLE seems it has turned to the point that there for themselves regardless WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT !! this has got to stop and NOW !!!
      contributions to be shut to a certain amount no more open ended contributions seems the rich think they can make the rules IT IS THAT WAY NOW AND THAT ALSO HAS TO STOP !! ALONG WITH SPECIAL RIGHT CORPORATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS == just because your rich DO NOT MAKE U KING !!!
      BUT a question ==== just who makes up all the laws an stipulations for these people ? answer = > THEMSELVES == SO HOW DO WE THE PEOPLE STOP IT !!! The good ole boys club has to be disbanded and NOW !!

  • Rollin Shultz January 22, 2016, 7:29 am

    Hopefully this will go in front of “Judge” rather than a puppet.

  • Mitch Spence January 22, 2016, 7:05 am

    Mitt Romney said it right and it cost him an election. How do you get elected when 47% or more of the country lives on the dole? There will never be another ADULT elected to the White House, only Santa Clauses.

  • Chuck Roast January 21, 2016, 7:56 pm

    Our major problem with allowing Ultra Vires acts by any President, this one included, is our totally useless cabal of so called “Representatives”who we inexplicably manage to continue electing to Congress who, consistently refuse to present Articles of Impeachment (in the House) and in the Senate, vote removal from office, any Chief Executive (such as the current one) who even SUGGESTS that they hold Unitary Authority over our government. Our system of government has been usurped, and We the People, do absolutely nothing but cough up cash to send the Usurpers, and call it an “income tax.” It is, more correctly described as an annual extortion payment to an illegal mob.

    • Allen Dean Benge January 22, 2016, 6:26 am

      Obama claims to be a constitutional expert and scholar, and we have only his flapping gums, because he had his records sealed (while wanting to know everythinng about everyone else.) If he were such an expert on our Constitution, he would be aware of the section that sets forth the duties and powers of the President. He officiously states he has a pen and a phone, and will do as he damn well pleases, Congress, We the people, and the constitution be damned. This empty suit is working to make himself King Obama the First. George Washington declared he would not accept additional time as President, because ‘we have just gotten rid of a King, and we do not want another. I just read where Obama boasted to the SCOTUS that He, King Obama, makes the law. Why in the name of all that is Holy, can we not get rid of this waste of human skin? He is a liar, a despot, a tyrant, and most of all, he has revealed that he is an agent of a power inimical to the safety and security of the United States, a clear and present danger to America, in direct violation of his oath to protect, preserve and defend the Constitution of the United States. He is a traitor who deserves to be hanged for Treason.

      • Jack January 22, 2016, 12:09 pm

        You read my mind!!

  • Chris Baker January 21, 2016, 12:36 pm

    In light of the second amendment, these executive orders about gun control are just as illegal as most of the laws passed by congress and other lower jurisdictions that would infringe on your right to keep and bear arms.
    2nd Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
    Requiring a permit is an infringement. Forbidding certain types of weapons is an infringement. Barring weapons from certain areas is an infringement. The Second Amendment is ALL the permit anyone should need except for the illegal actions of the government.

  • Mahatma Muhjesbude January 21, 2016, 11:28 am

    Jaque, That’s because Republicans are just another flip of the same coin. All ‘power elite’ maintain their ‘distance’ from the sheeple as a function of their status. It goes with the ‘Club Fed’ membership. With the exception of only a faithful few, most dance to a different tune once in ‘office’ than the rest of us. While we pay for the Music!

    These 2/A discussions never fail to amaze me because they invariably not only miss the bulls eye point, but they’re never even ‘on paper’! The most important natural right Law of The Land in world history, and we’re letting a two-bit Totalitarian Despot do everything in his ‘power’ to kill a right that ‘Shall Not Be Infringed’. Sure, a large part of the ‘sheeple’ populate are brainwashed parasites of the ‘system’ and have already succumbed to the Nanny State mentality. But like the Tories and functionally apathetic Americans during the Revolution, who also were not of the same determination as the Patriots, these Americans would be eventually realize their mistake once the minority of proactive Patriots rose up in formidable Revolution.

    But somehow, inexplicable, at least to me, this hasn’t happened yet. Instead, we have no problem, or rather the Insurance lobbyists don’t, with getting a repeal vote on the Affordable Health care law? But with all the ‘up in arms’ talk about gun control laws, and the millions strong standing Armed Freedom loving Americans…we still haven’t fixed all this treasonous ‘lawmaking’ once and for all with the all out repeal of ALL gun laws, starting with the 1934 NFA Act and the GCA of 1968 which were the biggest social frauds the Totalitarians ever perpetrated upon the American people! This would immediately break the back of agenda based Citizen Disarmament allowing us to then allocate effort and resources to focus on the real problem which is dysfunctional deleterious ‘human behavior’ NOT absolute prohibitions on material objects!

  • taxx73 January 21, 2016, 1:21 am

    Of course these executive orders are unconstitutional. That’s the only way that Odumbo can get his way. Congress and the American people both have said no more gun control.
    My wife maybe affected by this because she is on ssd. Her money is direct deposited in my name for her care because I am the one that handles the money in our house. Good thing she already owns a gun and if they think she’ll give it up they better duck and cover quick. She loves crotch shots! LEAVE OUR RIGHTS ALONE!!!!!!!!

  • JAQUE BAUER January 20, 2016, 10:43 pm

    On CSPAN today were hearings led by Sen. Richard Shelby on the Obama executive orders on gun sales and background check expansion. Let me say that until Republicans are better educated in guns, gun law, NFA weapons, and can read their own notes, gun owners are going to continue to lose to government tryanny and illegal executive orders. Shelby was pathetic, and never challanged lies and propaganda spread by the gun haters about NFA weapons, gun shows, and 2nd Amendment in general. Loretta Lynch is clearly a well trained Communist as is Obama. They lie, obfuscate, confuse, lie some more. The NSSF and NRA should do a better job educating those in congress that are supposed to be defending gun owners from government criminal acts.

    • Doc January 22, 2016, 7:55 am

      Having lived in AL I must agree Shelby is simply riding a gravy train with biscuit wheels and collecting a check.A republican that does nothing is as bad as a democrat trying to take our rights .We need term limits on everyone in elected office to stop career politicians .

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