Published January 15, 2013
A Texas congressman vowed to try to impeach President Obama if he moves ahead with plans to control guns by executive order and onetime U.S. Attorney General Ed Meese says it is not far-fetched.
Rep. Steve Stockman, a Republican from the Houston area, called Obama's plans to skirt Congress and implement some controls administratively "an unconstitutional and unconscionable attack on the very founding principles of this republic." He also threatened to defund the White House.
"I will seek to thwart this action by any means necessary, including but not limited to eliminating funding for implementation, defunding the White House, and even filing articles of impeachment," Stockman said.
Meese, who was the nation's top law enforcement officer in the Reagan administration, told Newsmax Stockman would have support for such a move - and a good case.
“It would not be legal. It would not be constitutional,” Meese said. “And, indeed, if he tried to override the Second Amendment in any way, I believe it would be an impeachable offense.
“An executive order without specific congressional authority can only apply to those portions of the government that are under his control — in their words, the executive branch. Now, there are some things he can probably do in regard to the actions of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or some other governmental agency in its operations.
“But to impose burdens or regulations that affect society generally, he would have to have Congressional authorization,” Meese added.
Obama said at a press conference Monday that tracking data on guns that criminals use could be one item done administratively that would not have to go through Congress. Democrats have been calling for new gun control measures since the school massacre in Newtown, Conn.
"I think that those of us who look at this problem have repeatedly said that responsible gun owners, people who have a gun for protection, for hunting, for sportsmanship, they don't have anything to worry about," Obama said.
But Stockman said any such move requires legislative action.
"Any proposal to abuse executive power and infringe upon gun rights must be repelled with the stiffest legislative force possible," he said. "Under no circumstances whatsoever may the government take any action that disarms any peaceable person — much less without due process through an executive declaration without a vote of Congress or a ruling of a court."
Modern day U.S. presidents including George H.W. Bush have used executive action for gun laws.
Obama says his legislation will be crafted from suggestions gathered by a White House task force led by Vice President Biden. He and Cabinet members such as Attorney General Eric Holder spoke with a cross-section of groups and individuals since the fatal shooting, including shooting victims, gun rights advocacy groups, gun control groups, governors and executives from the video-gaming industry.