Josh Earnest: ‘Wouldn’t Be Surprised’ If Opponents Try to Tie Up Gun Control Legislation in Court for 12 Months

By Melanie Arter | January 4, 2016 | 3:24pm EST
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest (AP Photo)

( – White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday that he would not be surprised if those who are opposed to President Barack Obama using his executive authority to enact gun control legislation without congressional approval try to tie it up in court for the remaining 12 months of Obama’s presidency.

“But again the kind of arguments that we’ll be able to mobilize in a court of law are ones that I am confident will be powerful and persuasive. Ultimately, a judge will have to decide, but we should not be distracted however from the fact that the reason the president is taking these actions is because Congress has utterly failed in their responsibility to do so,” said Earnest.


Earnest said the gun lobby is “likely to try to pursue a creative legal theory to prevent the implementation of these rules,” which is why Obama is meeting with U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, to make sure the recommendation he receives and the executive actions he carries out will stand up in court.”

“A lot of the work that has gone on has been to ensure that we would have confidence in the legal basis of these actions,” Earnest added.

The president announced last week that he would use his executive authority to bypass Congress and enact a number of gun control measures. On Tuesday, the president will law out those plans timed to coincide with the 5th anniversary of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who survived a gun massacre that killed six people and wounded 13 others.

He plans to take part in a one-hour live town hall on gun control at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Thursday night with CNN’s Anderson Cooper to make a final pitch to the public on the issue.

Earnest said Congress has had “multiple opportunities” to “make it harder for the wrong hands to get a hold of guns, and there are steps that Congress can take that would not undermine the basic constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans, but Congress has refused.”

Even after Obama’s executive action, “Congress is still going to have the responsibility to act in their own right as well,” Earnest said.

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