MIAMI (CN) - President Barack Obama's expansion of background checks for prospective gun buyers faces a federal complaint from a conservative activist who claims the executive action is unconstitutional.
The president announced his intention to tighten the rules for buying guns on Jan. 5, putting forward a new interpretation of the definition of who is a firearms dealer.
The new reading of the definition already on the books subjects more transactions, including those carried out at gun shows or over the Internet, to background checks.
In his complaint, Larry Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch, claims Obama, and co-defendants U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Thomas Brandon, deputy director of the Justice Department, promulgated the new interpretation of the law mere because the president "does not like the legislative decisions of the Congress."
"It is clearly arbitrary and capricious for the defendants, each and every one of them, to now suddenly adopt and implement a new and different interpretation for no other reason than the political preferences of temporary occupants of elected office," the Jan. 19 complaint says.
Klayman, a well-known attorney and former U.S. Senate candidate, the president's executive action is unconstitutional because it abridges the fundamental rights of U.S. citizens, and it's illegal under the "Administrative Procedures Act."
"These violations include the defendants fundamentally transforming the definition of key terms so as to invent a different regime of regulation of firearms through changed interpretations, albeit illegal changes, of current law," Klayman says.
He claims that the new laws force the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms "to treat almost anyone as a dealer, regardless of whether or not the person is in the business of trading in firearms or earning a livelihood (or seeking to) by trading in firearms."
According to the complaint, under the new laws any individual who buys or sells guns as a hobby or antique collector will be required to have a dealer's license, perform a background check and will be prohibited to sell guns to persons who do not pass a background check.
The complaint also says that the new rules expanded the mental health prohibition on buying firearms.
"Defendants have ordered ATF officials and personnel, and those of other agencies, to load into the NISC background check database persons who have mental health issues but who have not been formally adjudicated as mentally incompetent by a court of law," the complaint says.
Under the new gun control laws the Social Security Administration is required to report and include in the NISC database all persons receiving disability payments.
Klayman is seeking a declaratory judgment, and preliminary and permanent injunctions for the violation of his fundamental rights under the Second Amendment.
Sarah Schall, spokesperson of the press office for the Department of Justice in the Southern District of Florida, said that the department doesn't comment on pending litigation.
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