Washington Special for News Talk Florida – Multiple sources are reporting that President Barack Obama is seriously considering circumventing Congress with his executive authority and imposing new background-check requirements for buyers who purchase weapons from high-volume gun dealers.
The President will be in Oregon today to meet with families of the deadly shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg
The new Obama plan would reportedly impose new background check requirements for those seeking to purchase weapons from gun dealers. Under the proposed change, dealers exceeding a certain number of sales each year will reportedly have to obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and conduct background checks on potential buyers.
The law currently in place states that people “engaged in the business” of dealing firearms needs to obtain a federal license, as well as conduct background checks. However the laws exempts anyone “who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms.”
President Obama has pushed for legislation requiring universal background checks on gun sales, an effort that failed in the Senate in April 2013. In August that year, Obama closed two gun sale loopholes through executive authority, subjecting gun purchases by corporations and trusts to background checks and banning almost all re-imports of military surplus firearms to private entities.
In the wake of last week’s tragedy, Obama said he had asked his team “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.”
According to the Washington Post report they spoke a number of members of the Obama administration all saying that the President is giving serious consideration acting on this issue.
“We are hopeful we can find a way to do this,” said one senior administration official, who noted that lawyers were still working through details to ensure that the rule could pass legal muster.
Nine days before a shooter opened fire on the Umpqua Community College campus, former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, were at the White House to reiterate a long-standing request that those private dealers who sell a sizable number of guns conduct background checks on buyers. The proposed rule change would clarify what it means to be “engaged in the business” of selling firearms.
At Monday’s White House press briefing the stage was being set for the possibility of the use of executive action to get tougher gun laws in place. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday.
“The president has frequently pushed his team to consider a range of executive actions that could more effectively keep guns out of the hands of criminals and others who shouldn’t have access to them,” Earnest said Monday. “That’s something that is ongoing here.”
Meanwhile, over on Capitol Hill Democrats hope to expand background checks to include domestic abuse reports and prevent any gun purchases until a full background check is completed. The plan would also make it illegal for someone to buy a gun on behalf of someone else who is unable to buy a firearm legally.
The principles will reintroduce many of the universal background check proposals contained in the failed bipartisan legislation introduced in 2013 by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WestVa.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). Just one of the four Democrats who voted against the bill, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), is still in the Senate and gun control advocates hope to win support from nearly every Democrat when the new bill is eventually written.
On the campaign trail Hillary Clinton, 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.