Meese: Obama Risks Impeachment If He Uses Executive Order for Gun Control
Todd Beamon and Kathleen Walter
Former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III declared in an exclusive Newsmax TV interview that President Barack Obama could easily be impeached if he bypassed Congress and enacted gun-control legislation by executive order.
Meese's comments came on the same day President Obama told the White House press corps at the last news conference of his first term that he was reviewing actions, including issuing executive orders, where he could take action without congressional approval to confront gun violence in the nation. Obama will present his plan Wednesday morning, Bloomberg News reported.
The options include stronger background checks, a meaningful ban on assault weapons, and limits on high-capacity ammunition magazines, Obama said, conceding that was unsure how such steps could pass Congress.
“I’m confident there are some steps we can take that don’t require legislation and that are within my authority as president,” Obama said.
“It would not be legal. It would not be constitutional,” Meese, who served under President Ronald Reagan, tells Newsmax. “And, indeed, if he tried to override the Second Amendment in any way, I believe it would be an impeachable offense.”
Meese, 81, is the Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy at the Heritage Foundation and is chairman of its Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. A close Reagan adviser, he also served on the National Security Council.
The idea of embracing tougher gun laws has brought fierce resistance from the National Rifle Association and other gun-control advocates. They contended that their meeting last week with Vice President Joseph Biden’s gun-violence task force amounted to a strategy session on how to thwart the Second Amendment.
“It should be remembered that the president cannot by executive order do things that affects the public at large unless there is some congressional basis for it,” Meese tells Newsmax. “In other words, some Congressional authority he has been given.
“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,” he said.
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