Dems urge Obama to curb gun violence through executive action

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If Republicans won’t pass legislation to curb the nation’s gun violence, House Democrats say the president should.

In a letter Monday, Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, and 114 of his Democratic colleagues urged President Obama to close the private sale loophole through executive action that now allows guns to be sold without a background check.

“Every day close to 30 Americans are killed by someone using a gun,” their letter said. “Following yet another horrific mass shooting in Roseburg, Oregon, it is unthinkable that our country can continue to turn a blind eye to these tragedies.”

The lawmakers were referring to the shooting rampage at Umpqua Community College (UCC) that killed nine and injured seven more last month.

Under the current law, only licensed gun dealers are required to perform background checks for all gun sales, and only those individuals deemed to be "engaged in the business" of dealing in guns are required to obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). In their letter, Democrats ask the president to eliminate the ambiguity surrounding the term "engaged in the business" as it pertains to federally licensed firearms dealers.

“This type of action is not without precedent, as many states have provided this type of explicit guidance regarding which vendors engaged in retail sales in the state are required to collect states’ sales tax,” they said. “This change would be a positive step forward in closing the private sale loophole, a policy change that roughly 90 percent of Americans support.”

Sen. Chris MurphyChris MurphyPodesta floated Bill Gates, Bloomberg as possible Clinton VPs Dem senator calls for end of Saudi support in Yemen after funeral bombing Dems to McConnell: Pass 'clean' extension of Iran sanctions MORE (D-Conn.) also led a letter signed by 24 senators asking the president to take executive action to close the background check loophole.