President Barack Obama said he is “fired up” for 2016 and plans to address a piece of unfinished business – reducing gun violence. The president announced that he will meet with Attorney General Loretta Lynch to see what options are available to him to bypass congress with an executive order.
In the weekly address, Obama called the U.S. epidemic of gun violence a “piece of unfinished business” according to NBC News.
“I get too many letters from parents, and teachers, and kids, to sit around and do nothing… A few months ago, I directed my team at the White House to look into any new actions I can take to help reduce gun violence. On Monday, I’ll meet with our Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, to discuss our options.”
According to CNN, the President’s plan is to expand background checks for gun buyers using several executive actions. One intended outcome is to increase the number of domestic abusers who are barred from owning guns.
The Wall Street Journal reports that under federal law, people convicted of violence against a spouse, co-spouse or cohabiting partner are prohibited from buying guns – but not people convicted of stalking or violence against a current or former dating partner. Likewise, subjects of restraining orders can purchase firearms.
Barack Obama’s executive orders will also include requirements for small-scale gun sellers to be licensed and conduct background checks for all sales.
President Obama admitted it will be difficult to go forward alone, but he believes it will be worth it in the end.
“The gun lobby is loud and well organized in its defense of effortlessly available guns for anyone. The rest of us are going to have to be just as passionate and well organized in our defense of our kids. That’s the work of citizenship – to stand up and fight for the change that we seek. I hope you’ll join me in making America safer for all of our children.”
National Rifle Association spokeswoman Jennifer Baker was quick to respond to the announcement, claiming that the President has yet to improve safety with his executive orders.
“In California, President Obama had what he wanted—the strictest gun control in the country—and it did not prevent the San Bernardino attack. The plain truth is that President Obama’s gun-control agenda will only make it harder for law-abiding citizens to exercise their constitutional right to self-protection. It will not stop criminals or terrorists.”
In 2013, Obama released 23 executive actions on gun control following the Sandy Hook massacre. They included orders to improve information sharing for background checks, maximize enforcement of gun crime laws, and nominate a director for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).
The positive outcomes from those orders are difficult to quantify, even for White House allies. The ATF did nominate a director, B. Todd Jones, who took over after the Fast and Furious scandal. Unfortunately for the administration, Jones only stayed for 20 months, leaving the Bureau with another unapproved acting director.
Barack Obama has had other setbacks with his gun control measures. For one, during each announcement, the sale of guns has spiked as people fear the controls will prevent them from buying later.
After Obama’s 2013 gun control orders, gun manufacturing jumped to 10.8 million firearms, compared to 2.3 million in 2012.
The full details of President Barack Obama’s new set of executive orders on gun control should come out soon, which will likely set off another fierce political battle on the subject.
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