Obama weighing new executive action on guns

Obama weighing new executive action on guns

President Obama is considering new executive action on gun control following last week's shooting at a community college in Oregon.

The president is considering a regulatory change that would extend background check requirements to more dealers, according to The Washington Post. A White House official confirmed the plan is under consideration.

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The proposal was among a number of executive actions that Obama considered after the 2012 shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. The idea was abandoned, partly due to objections from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), The Post reports.

But in the wake of a new mass shooting last week at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, which left nine people dead, the White House is giving the plan a second look.

Under the plan, dealers who sell guns above a certain amount would have to perform background checks and obtain a license from the ATF.

Many of those dealers are exempt from the requirements now under a federal law that states people who make "occasional sales" as a hobby do not have to obtain a license or perform background checks, The Post notes.

The rule change would effectively help to close what critics call a loophole that allows people to purchase firearms online and at gun shows without going through a background check.

The president’s legal staff is weighing just how far he could tighten the standard without the regulation being overturned in court.

The proposal is certain to set off a firestorm in Washington, with a debate raging in Congress and in the 2016 race about whether gun control is needed to stem the tide of mass shootings.

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies DNC, RNC step up cyber protections Gun proposal picks up GOP support MORE, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, has seized on the Oregon shooting to put forward a number of gun control proposals, including an executive action on background checks that is similar to what Obama is now considering.

The Democratic Party's focus on guns has drawn fierce criticism from Republican White House hopefuls, who largely say mental health, and not gun control, is the correct policy response. They say Democrats are using the shootings to roll back Second Amendment rights.

Obama is wading back into the divisive issue of gun control as he travels to Roseburg, Ore., Friday to meet privately with survivors and families of victims of the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College.

At a press conference last week, a frustrated Obama said he had asked his advisers "to scrub what kinds of authorities do we have to enforce the laws that we have in place more effectively to keep guns out of the hands of criminals." 

"Naturally this sort of proposal would be part of that process," the White House official said.