GOP Congressman Steve Stockman says the use of executive actions by the White House to clamp down on gun owners is unconstitutional.
A Texas Republican congressman says he’ll do whatever it takes – including starting impeachment proceedings against President Barack Obama – to counter the White House’s use of executive actions to clamp down on gun owners.
Rep. Steve Stockman says the implementation of gun-control regulations without going through Congress infringes on "the God-given right to keep and bear arms protected by the Second Amendment."
He said he would lead the fight to defeat the president’s proposals, including seeking legislation to overturn the executive actions and barring funds to enforce them.
"Now, I would hope those measures are enough to either deter President Obama or thwart his efforts. However, if they do not or are unsuccessful I will consider speaking with my colleagues and filing articles of impeachment," Stockman said in a statement.
"Impeachment is not something to be taken lightly. It is a grave and serious undertaking that should only be initiated in a sober and serious manner. It should be reserved only for most egregious of trespasses by the president."
Stockman's comments came after Obama announced on Wednesday that he has initiated nearly two dozen executive actions aimed at curbing the nation’s gun violence, including steps to strengthen the existing system for firearms background checks and to improve mental health and school safety programs. The actions require no congressional approval.
The president also called on Congress to swiftly pass legislation to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines for civilian use and to require universal background checks for all gun buyers.
The sweeping plan to battle gun violence comes in response to the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., last month in which 20 children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Stockman isn't the only one to raise the specter of impeachment proceeding against the president. Edwin Meese, former U.S. attorney general under Ronald Reagan, told Newsmax on Wednesday that Obama is treading dangerous ground by acting unilaterally.
"It would not be legal. It would not be constitutional," Meese told Newsmax. "And, indeed, if he tried to override the Second Amendment in any way, I believe it would be an impeachable offense."
The House of Representatives has the sole power of impeachment and the Senate the sole power to try impeachments. Conviction requires a two-thirds vote.
Only two U.S. presidents have ever been impeached: Andrew Johnson in 1868 for, among other things, usurpation of the law after he fired his war secretary, and Bill Clinton in 1998 for allegedly lying under oath about his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Neither was convicted by the Senate.
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