Report: Obama gun actions expected next week

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President Obama is expected to issue long-awaited executive actions on guns next week after he returns from Hawaii, according to Politico.

The White House has spent the last few weeks finalizing several new measures in response to a string of mass shootings that have cast a cloud over Obama’s presidency.

The White House declined to comment specifically on the scope of the actions or when they will be issued. 

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White House spokesman Eric Schultz described the actions as a necessary move because Congress has rejected past efforts to tighten the nation’s gun laws.

“The president has made clear he's not satisfied with where we are, and expects that work to be completed soon,” he said.

Citing gun-industry insiders and other sources, Politico reported one proposal would classify more gun sellers as high-volume dealers. Proponents say that would close a legal loophole, which allows many sales conducted online or at gun shows to skirt existing background check provisions.

That measure has been widely reported to be under consideration at the White House since an October mass shooting at a community college in Oregon.

Another would make stricter rules for reporting guns that are lost or stolen.

If Obama acts alone to tighten the nation’s gun laws, it would set up a major confrontation with Republicans and gun rights groups during an election year.

The background check measure would surely prompt a legal challenge from Republicans and groups such as the National Rifle Association, which argues Obama does not have the legal authority to take such a broad step on his own.

The White House has telegraphed for weeks that it’s a virtual certainty Obama will hand down the executive actions.

Communications director Jen Psaki said at a breakfast hosted by Bloomberg News on Dec. 18 that Obama’s final review of new executive actions on gun control would happen within “weeks, not months.”

She said the administration is weighing a "range of steps that can be taken as it relates to the people who have access to guns" and "how people gain access to guns.” 

Observers have speculated the actions would be handed down before Obama’s State of the Union address on Jan. 12.

The president has met with high-profile gun-control advocates in the process of drafting the actions, including former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).

This story was updated at 12:48 p.m.