Obama to Announce New Executive Action on Guns
President Barack Obama is set to announce executive action regarding gun control in the coming days.
Obama made it clear that gun control legislation was “imminent.”
White House spokesman Eric Schultz said that the president was mulling over several options and understood that gun control was an urgent issue.
“It is complicated. That’s why it’s taken some time for our policy folks, our lawyers, and our expects to work through this and see what’s possible,” Schultz said.
Gun control advocates and White House officials say the focus remains on the so-called “gun show loophole,” which allows certain sellers of guns — at gun shows and elsewhere — to avoid conducting background checks before making sales.
Months after the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school massacre that claimed 26 victims, the then-Democratic majority Senate rejected a similar proposal.
Congress would still need to act in order to make background checks fully universal. But advocates and administration lawyers have struck upon a provision in the law that could allow for Obama to expand the background check requirement to additional sellers.
Federal law currently requires all individuals “engaged in the business” of selling guns to obtain a license and conduct background checks on buyers. But others who only make occasional sales or are selling firearms from a personal collection are exempted from the background check requirement.
Gun control advocates say Obama could take action himself by issuing a regulation that provides expanded guidance on who falls under the “in the business” standard.
One group, the Michael Bloomberg-helmed Everytown for Gun Safety, has provided recommendations to the White House that include creating a test for assessing who must become licensed to continue selling guns. Factors would include volume and speed of sales, and whether or not the seller relies on advertising to sell guns.
The group also recommended Obama define a gun in a “personal collection” as having been in the seller’s possession for at least a year.
Before leaving for his winter vacation in Hawaii, Obama met with Bloomberg at the White House to discuss gun control.
Aside from the background check provision, people familiar with Obama’s plans say his new gun control announcement will include new funding for government agencies to better enforce existing gun laws.
Photo credit: Brookings.edu.