Governor Scott Walker is calling on Wisconsin’s attorney general to challenge President Obama’s executive action on gun control, and some legal experts are weighing in on whether or not such an effort would be successful.
UW-Madison law professor Howard Schweber says the expansion of background checks for gun shows and private sales likely does not violate a citizen’s right to own firearms under the Second Amendment. “The Supreme Court has told us it’s not permissible to ban gun ownership,” he said. “But, they’ve also told us…that reasonable regulation is permissible.”
Schweber says he’s not heard of any court ruling that found background checks on gun purchases are unreasonable.
Meanwhile, fellow UW-Madison law professor Donald Downs says opponents of the move may have a better chance of defeating it by challenging the president’s authority to expand background checks through an executive order. He points to a prior Supreme Court decision that dealt with President Truman trying to seize steel mills during the Korean War. “They said that when Congress has made it clear that it disapproves of a certain type of action, that’s when the president’s power is at its lowest ebb…and that seems to me that could be the case here.”
Downs says Congressional leaders have clearly stated they didn’t want the president to act on gun control. “That could be seen as Congress basically saying no,” which Downs says could provide the grounds needed to make a challenge that the president is exceeding his authority.
Contributed by Rick Schuh, WHBY.