A conservative activist group says President Obama does not have the legal authority to carry out his recently issued executive actions in a challenge launched Monday in federal court.
Freedom Watch, an organization registered in Florida but has a mailing address in Washington, D.C., filed the complaint in the Southern District of Florida, the same court that upheld a state law barring doctors from asking patients about owning guns.
The lawsuit says Obama, through executive actions issued this month, ordered the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to redefine who is “engaged in the business of selling firearms.” The President’s plan includes having the ATF crackdown on dealers who sell guns without a license.
“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,” the group argues.
Per federal law, licensed gun dealers must perform background checks before transferring or selling a firearm to an individual buyer. However, identifying unlicensed dealers is not so cut-and-dry so ATF agents follow specific criteria to identify possible violations.
In early 2013, Freedom Watch also challenged the executive actions on guns the President issued a response to the massacre of 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. A federal judge dismissed the group’s complaint later that year.
Gun group, the Second Amendment Foundation, suggested taking possible legal action against the Administration’s efforts, but would not announce the lawsuit until a complaint was filed.
Freedom Watch was founded by activist and attorney Larry Klayman, who also founded another activist group, Judicial Watch. Klayman regularly files suit against the government. The same day he issued the challenge, he filed suit against the Food and Drug Administration for alleged racketeering.