Here Are Obama's New Executive Actions On Gun Control
President Obama introduced a new group of executive actions to reduce gun violence at an emotional press conference Tuesday. The order, which has not yet been signed into legality, is designed to bypass a gridlocked Congress. Republicans have roundly condemned the executive action. House Speaker Paul Ryan predicted it’d be challenged in the courts, and many 2016 presidential candidates have vowed to overturn the measure.
Here’s exactly how Obama aims to improve background checks on gun buyers, community safety, mental health treatment and smart gun technology, in the words of the White House press room.
1. Keep guns out of the wrong hands through background checks.
“We’ve created a system in which dangerous people are allowed to play by a different set of rules than a responsible gun owner who buys his or her gun the right way and subjects themselves to a background check,” Obama said Tuesday.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is making clear that it doesn’t matter where you conduct your business—from a store, at gun shows, or over the Internet: If you’re in the business of selling firearms, you must get a license and conduct background checks.
ATF is finalizing a rule to require background checks for people trying to buy some of the most dangerous weapons and other items through a trust, corporation, or other legal entity.
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch has sent a letter to States highlighting the importance of receiving complete criminal history records and criminal dispositions, information on persons disqualified because of a mental illness, and qualifying crimes of domestic violence.
The FBI is overhauling the background check system to make it more effective and efficient. The envisioned improvements include processing background checks 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and improving notification of local authorities when certain prohibited persons unlawfully attempt to buy a gun. The FBI will hire more than 230 additional examiners and other staff to help process these background checks.
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2. Make our communities safer from gun violence.
This part of the order won’t change the laws, but it will urge law enforcement to enforce the existing laws, and give federal agencies more resources to do so.
The Attorney General convened a call with U.S. Attorneys around the country to direct federal prosecutors to continue to focus on smart and effective enforcement of our gun laws.
The President’s FY2017 budget will include funding for 200 new ATF agents and investigators to help enforce our gun laws.
ATF has established an Internet Investigation Center to track illegal online firearms trafficking and is dedicating $4 million and additional personnel to enhance the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network.
ATF is finalizing a rule to ensure that dealers who ship firearms notify law enforcement if their guns are lost or stolen in transit.
The Attorney General issued a memo encouraging every U.S. Attorney’s Office to renew domestic violence outreach efforts.
3. Increase mental health treatment and reporting to the back ground check system.
Obama hit out at politicians who blame mass shootings on mental illness as a way of diverting attention from gun control. ”Here’s your chance to support these efforts,” he said. “Put your money where your mouth is.”
The Administration is proposing a new $500 million investment to increase access to mental health care.
The Social Security Administration has indicated that it will begin the rulemaking process to include information in the background check system about beneficiaries who are prohibited from possessing a firearm for mental health reasons.
The Department of Health and Human Services is finalizing a rule to remove unnecessary legal barriers preventing States from reporting relevant information about people prohibited from possessing a gun for specific mental health reasons.
4. Shape the future of gun safety technology.
“If we can set it up so you can’t unlock your phone unless you’ve got the right fingerprint, why can’t we do the same thing for our guns?” Obama asked. Again, he’s not changing laws here so much as encouraging federal agencies to prioritize gun technology.
The President has directed the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security to conduct or sponsor research into gun safety technology.
The President has also directed the departments to review the availability of smart gun technology on a regular basis, and to explore potential ways to further its use and development to more broadly improve gun safety.