Obama Announces Gun Violence Executive Orders To Make America Safer

"We know background checks make a difference."

Speaking in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, President Obama formally announced his executive actions for gun safety on Tuesday. The White House released details of the proposals on Monday.

"My goal is to bring good people on both sides of this issue together for a discussion," Obama said on Tuesday. "That's why we're here today. Not to debate the last mass shooting, but to do something to prevent the next one. We can find ways to reduce gun violence consistent with the Second Amendment."

The heart of the president's gun safety executive orders will be the expansion of background checks to all non-hobbyists who are in the business of selling firearms, including online sales. Attorney General Loretta Lynch noted court rulings that said as a few as two gun sales could trigger the background check requirement.

"It is not where you are located, but it is what you are doing that determines whether you are engaged in the business of dealing in firearms," Lynch said on Monday, according to the Wall Street Journal. "With this clarification and with this guidance, we will be looking for those individuals who seek to avoid registering and who seek to avoid following the lawful requirements."

The president is calling on the FBI to hire more examiners so that background checks can be conducted 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

More than 70 percent of Americans support background checks for all gun purchases. Forty-three percent of Americans have a gun in their house or in their property.


It has been more than three years since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. During that time, there have been more than 90,000 gun deaths in the U.S. and no new gun laws from Congress. 

"The gun lobby may be holding Congress hostage, but they can't hold America hostage," Obama said during his speech.

Some states strengthened their gun safety laws since Sandy Hook and other states weakened their gun safety laws.

"We know background checks make a difference," Obama said. "Gun deaths decreased by 40 percent after Connecticut's law passed."

In addition to background checks, the president's executive action includes other proposals to limit gun violence. The president is requesting more Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) funding to hire more agents, new laws that require gun dealers to report missing guns, $500 million in additional mental health care funding, and more research into gun safety technology.

There will also be likely court challenges to the background check proposals.

Republicans have criticized President Obama for bypassing Congress with executive actions. However, Obama has fewer executive actions than other recent presidents. As of December 2015, Obama had 227 executive actions, compared to Presidents George W. Bush (291), Bill Clinton (364), and Ronald Reagan (381).

Despite the president's plan, hobbyists can still sell firearms without a background check, people on the "no-fly" list can still buy guns, and large capacity magazines are still legal.

(H/T: CNN)


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