Justice

Obama Reportedly Will Move To Expand Gun Background Checks By Executive Order

CREDIT: Will Lester/The Sun via AP

President Barack Obama delivers a brief statement in a classroom at Indian Springs High School on Friday, Dec. 18, 2015, in San Bernardino, CA

President Obama is reportedly planning to announce executive action to enforce stricter gun regulations, after a year blighted with nearly as many mass shootings as there were days.

“[T]he set of executive actions would fulfill a promise by the President to take further unilateral steps the White House says could help curb gun deaths,” CNN reported. “[G]un control advocates are expecting the new actions to be revealed next week, ahead of Obama’s annual State of the Union address, set for January 12.”

In 2015, 457 people died from 353 mass shootings (as of December 17). After Congress blocked legislative efforts, the president will now take executive action to attempt to keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals.

Obama’s focus will be on “gun show loopholes” that allow purchasing guns without background checks in certain situations, including at certain aforementioned gun shows. He’ll also boost enforcement of laws on the books. Under the current law, only full-time gun sellers need to make background checks. Occasional sellers are not required to.

The NRA and pro-gun advocates in Congress are likely to oppose any new gun restrictions. In fact, the expected proposal is similar to one Obama put forward after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Connecticut that killed 26 people — mostly children. A bill to expand background checks died in the Senate after a filibuster.

An October report by the Center for American Progress urged the administration to use “existing executive authority to amend the regulatory definition of what it means to be engaged in the business of dealing in guns to provide much-needed guidance to individuals and law enforcement about what type of sales activity requires licensure by ATF [the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives],” calling such action a “strong step toward reducing the number of guns that change hands every year without a background check — guns that too often end up in the wrong hands, with devastating results.”