Gov. Scott Walker is tasking the Wisconsin attorney general, “to take any and all legal measures available,” to stop the White House from putting new limits on private gun sales.
As part of a package of executive actions on gun control this week, President Obama directed the U.S. Department of Justice and federal agencies to step up scrutiny on those “engaged in the business” of selling guns without a license, going so far as to say as few as one or two gun sales by private individuals, if taken with other factors, could be a violation of the law.
This led Walker, who ran briefly for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination last year, to direct Wisconsin Attorney General Brad D. Schimel to take action on what he sees as an overreach by Washington.
“President Obama is again disregarding the Constitutional principles of separation of powers and exceeding his authority as Chief Executive,” Walker said in a statement Wednesday. “The Obama Administration issued guidance creating uncertainty and fear of prosecution for law-abiding citizens who wish to exercise their right to sell firearms lawfully. Forthcoming federal rules could also deprive millions of Americans of their Second Amendment rights without any indication of imminent danger.
“I have asked the Attorney General to review this proposed rule language as soon as it is made available and, if issued as reported, to take any and all legal measures available to challenge this illegal act,” said Walker.
Schimel has in the past joined with other state AGs in filing friend-of-the-court briefs urging the Supreme Court to take up gun rights cases including one to throw out a local ordinance in San Francisco, California requiring guns to be locked up even at home.
Taking Walker’s marching orders with a sense of immediacy, Schimel, a former prosecutor who won office on a GOP ticket with an eight-point lead in 2014, advised his legal team is reviewing the Obama directive to ensure the constitutional rights of law-abiding Wisconsin citizens are not violated.
“It appears that President Obama once again intends to act unilaterally to restrict the 2nd Amendment and subvert the legislative process by issuing yet another executive order,” said Schimel in a statement.
This is not the first time the governor and his AG have acted against White House executive actions.
In 2014, Walker, complaining of Presidential overreach at the time, asked then-Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to add Wisconsin to a list of 16 other states suing the federal government over immigration policies.