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Obama offers new gun control steps

By Josh Lederman

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 05:44 a.m. HST, Aug 29, 2013

WASHINGTON » Striving to take action where Congress would not, the Obama administration announced new steps today on gun control, curbing the import of military surplus weapons and proposing to close a little-known loophole that lets felons and others circumvent background checks by registering guns to corporations.

Four months after a gun control drive collapsed spectacularly in the Senate, President Barack Obama added two more executive actions to a list of 23 steps the White House determined Obama could take on his own to reduce gun violence. With the political world focused on Mideast tensions and looming fiscal battles, the move signaled Obama's intent to show he hasn't lost sight of the cause he took up after 20 first graders and six adults were gunned down last year in an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

One new policy will end a government practice that lets military weapons, sold or donated by the U.S. to allies, be reimported into the U.S. by private entities, where some may end up on the streets. The White House said the U.S. has approved 250,000 of those guns to be reimported since 2005; under the new policy, only museums and a few other entities like the government will be eligible to reimport military-grade firearms.

The Obama administration is also proposing a federal rule to stop those who would be ineligible to pass a background check from skirting the law by registering a gun to a corporation or trust. The new rule would require people associated with those entities, like beneficiaries and trustees, to undergo the same type of fingerprint-based background checks as individuals if they want to register guns.

Vice President Joe Biden, Obama's point-man on gun control after the Newtown tragedy thrust guns into the national spotlight, unveiled the new actions today at the White House.

The National Rifle Association dismissed the administration's moves as misdirected.

"Requiring background checks for corporations and trusts does not keep firearms out of the hands of criminals," the NRA's Andrew Arulanandam said. "Prohibiting the re-importation of firearms into the U.S. that were manufactured 50 or more years ago does not keep firearms out of the hands of criminals. This administration should get serious about prosecuting violent criminals who misuse guns and stop focusing its efforts on law-abiding gun owners."

In announcing the steps in the White House Roosevelt Room, Biden also swore in Todd Jones, whose confirmation to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives after six years of political wrangling to fill that position was another of Obama's post-Newtown priorities. A Senate deal to approve the president's pending nominations after Democrats threatened to change Senate rules cleared the way for Jones' confirmation last month.

Still out of reach for Obama were the steps that gun control advocates and the administration's own review say could most effectively combat gun violence in the U.S., like an assault weapons ban and fewer exceptions for background checks for individual sales. Only Congress can act on those fronts.

Although Obama and Biden have said the fight is not over, there is scant evidence that there is more support for gun control legislation than there was in April, when efforts died in the Senate amid staunch opposition from the National Rifle Association and most Republican senators.

"Sooner or later, we are going to get this right," Obama said that day in the White House Rose Garden, with the families of Newtown victims and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords — herself a victim of a gunman — at his side. "The memories of these children demand it, and so do the American people," the president said at the time.

In the months following the Senate vote, Biden has claimed that at a handful of lawmakers who opposed expanded background checks have told him privately they've changed their minds and want another chance. But Biden and White House officials have not named any of those lawmakers.

These days, Obama mentions gun control with far less regularity than when it appeared the Senate was poised to take action, although Obama did meet Tuesday with 18 city mayors to discuss ways to contain youth violence. And with immigration and pressing fiscal issues dominating Congress' agenda, the prospects for reviving gun legislation appear negligible.

With Jones' confirmation at ATF, the White House has completed or made significant progress on all but one of the 23 executive actions Obama had previously ordered in January, the White House said. Still lingering is an effort to finalize regulations to require insurers to cover mental health at parity with medical benefits, although the White House said that it is committed to making that happen by the end of 2013.

The new rules for guns registered to corporations will follow the traditional regulatory process, with a 90-day comment period before ATF reviews suggestions and finalizes the rule. Last year, ATF received 39,000 requests to register guns to corporations and trusts.

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Anonymous wrote:
Another "Executive Order" by the administration to skirt Congress ?? How many more of these "E.O." will the people endure with this current administration ?? Better hope the next POTUS will get rid of these "E.O.'s". The people may not like too much control of their lives and decide to do something about it !!!
on August 29,2013 | 06:12AM
1local wrote:
arm all legal citizens with no records. Allow Americans to defend themselves and lower the court and prison expense on taxpayers...
on August 29,2013 | 08:25AM
Oahuan2 wrote:
Mr. Obama's newest action for "gun control" would NOT have stopped the slaughter in Newtown. The man who killed those children and their teachers obtained the guns he used from his mother who had purchased them legally, as she had a constitutional right to do, and the murderer killed his mother. The press, ex-Senator Gifford, and Mr. Obama, continue to use the Newtown massacre as a reason to take away the constitutional right to own a gun from law abiding citizens. Crazy people and criminals will ALWAYS find weapons to use against the rest of us. We absolutely must preserve our right and ability to defend ourselves against these crazies. Mr. Obama is using Ms. Gifford and the horror of Newtown as part of his agenda to disarm the American public. Why?
on August 29,2013 | 06:13AM
serious wrote:
Agreed, why doesn't he use the extreme gun controls in Chicago, Detroit and DC as examples????
on August 29,2013 | 06:17AM
Dbung wrote:
Because they don't work....
on August 29,2013 | 06:37AM
saveparadise wrote:
Correct Oahuan, Obama's big facade to gain votes. Almost as bad as legalizing illegal aliens and who take jobs and bleed the health system without paying taxes. He wants to legalize them for the votes. Unreparable damage just to get electorals.
on August 29,2013 | 08:56AM
LanaUlulani wrote:
How lame. WE law-abiding gun owners are not the problem. Criminals have NO respect for laws and get guns from the Underground. You are wasting your time and our money!
on August 29,2013 | 06:24AM
juke wrote:
on August 29,2013 | 06:46AM
NITRO08 wrote:
Really do you keep your guns in a certified gun safe? Cause most don't.
on August 29,2013 | 06:48AM
pcman wrote:
Obama has to show his anti-gun supporters that he has done something to stop gun proliferation. Big deal.
on August 29,2013 | 06:49AM
cojef wrote:
This is the "Executive Order" President. Believes he is the head of a monarchy and his decisions will be the rule of the land. Yet after 4 years in office, little have been accomplished as far as progress in reducing our unemployment problems. He does not want to negotiate with the other party which is constitutionally required, and as in the the case with the ACA law, passed by a partisan Congress. He has the propensity of mouthing off and is currently faced with having to eat his word or lead our country into another quagmire with having to order attacks on a country with whom we are not at war. Even Germany is joing with the Russians and Chinese not to attack Syria. What are our national interests in Syria? His has a big mouth. He is not Teddy Roosevelt who carried a"Big Stick".
on August 29,2013 | 06:58AM
HIE wrote:
Obama has issued 158 EOs so far in 4.5 years, which is a rate of 35.1 p/yr. Reagan issued 381 EOs in his 8 years, giving him a rate of 47.6 p/yr. But don't let facts get in the way of who is the "Executive Order" President....
on August 29,2013 | 08:04AM
Mythman wrote:
What a joke - playing to the peea NUT gallery - if we can survive eight years of made up governance we can survive anything as a nation.
on August 29,2013 | 07:03AM
Kailuaraised wrote:
Another failure by Obama. Thankfully he cannot be re-elected.
on August 29,2013 | 07:22AM
2Lolo wrote:
However, and unfortunately, Henry Kissinger has said that for many years, BO has been primed to lead the NWO. Sickening.
on August 29,2013 | 07:44AM
kuroiwaj wrote:
on August 29,2013 | 07:45AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Good gun control would not be going into Syria.
on August 29,2013 | 07:52AM
downtown wrote:
Thank you, Mr. President. Please take action where our dysfunctional Congress will not.
on August 29,2013 | 08:25AM
SteveToo wrote:
KIng Obama speaks! All hale the king.
on August 29,2013 | 08:26AM
saveparadise wrote:
Is Obama the Antichrist? Drone assasinations, wars, disarm the people, legalize illegal aliens............??
on August 29,2013 | 09:01AM
palani wrote:
Give it a rest, goober.
on August 29,2013 | 09:16AM
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