comscore Obama explores unilateral steps on guns | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

Obama explores unilateral steps on guns

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    President Barack Obama delivers a brief statement in a classroom at Indian Springs High School on Friday, Dec. 18, 2015, in San Bernardino, Calif. Obama opened his Christmas vacation on a somber note: meeting with families of the 14 people who were killed in the San Bernardino shooting.

President Barack Obama is looking for ways to keep guns out of the hands of “a dangerous few” without depending on Congress to pass a law on the fraught subject of gun control.

He’s says he’ll meet his attorney general, Loretta Lynch, on Monday to see what executive actions might be possible. Steps to strengthen background checks could come this week.

“The gun lobby is loud and well organized in its defense of effortlessly available guns for anyone,” Obama said in his weekly radio address. “The rest of us are going to have to be just as passionate and well organized in our defense of our kids.”

He said he gets so many letters from parents, teachers and children about the “epidemic of gun violence” that he can’t “sit around and do nothing.”

Obama recently directed staff at the White House to look into potential executive actions.

Currently, federally licensed firearms dealers are required to seek background checks on potential firearm purchasers. But advocacy groups say some of the people who sell firearms at gun shows are not federally licensed, increasing the chance of sales to customers prohibited by law from purchasing guns.

A source familiar with the administration’s efforts said Obama is expected to take executive action next week that would set a “reasonable threshold” for when sellers have to seek a background check. That person didn’t know whether it would be based on the number of guns sold or revenue generated through gun sales.

The source, a member of a gun control advocacy group, was not authorized to discuss details before the announcement and spoke on condition of anonymity. White House officials won’t confirm the timing.

In his efforts to work around a Congress that has often been politically gridlocked, Obama has made aggressive use of executive power, particularly on immigration. It has been an increasingly effective presidential tool. And while legal scholars are divided on whether Obama has accelerated or merely continued a drift of power toward the executive branch, there’s little debate that he’s paved a path for his successor.

Depending on who succeeds him, many Obama backers could rue the day they cheered his “pen-and-phone” campaign to get past Republican opposition in Congress. The unilateral steps he took to raise environmental standards and ease the threat of deportation for millions of immigrants in the U.S. illegally may serve as precedent for moves they won’t cheer.

The National Rifle Association opposes expanded background check systems. The organization’s Institute for Legislative Action says studies have shown that people sent to state prison because of gun crimes typically get guns through theft, the black market or family and friends.

Also, many purchases by criminals are made from straw purchasers who pass background checks. “No amount of background checks can stop these criminals,” says the group’s website.

Obama has consistently expressed frustration after mass shootings, saying it shouldn’t be so easy for somebody who wants to inflict harm to get his or her hands on a gun.

Going into his final year in office, Obama said his New Year’s resolution is to move forward on unfinished business.

“That’s especially true for one piece of unfinished business, that’s our epidemic of gun violence,” Obama said in his weekly address.

He said a bipartisan bill from three years ago requiring background checks for almost everyone had huge support, including among a majority of NRA households. But the Senate blocked it.

“Each time, we’re told that common-sense reforms like background checks might not have stopped the last massacre, or the one before that, so we shouldn’t do anything,” he said. “We know that we can’t stop every act of violence. But what if we tried to stop even one?”

Comments (9)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Leave a Reply

  • Well, the gun issue is another that Hawaii born President Obama, of the United States, has split the Country into them and us. It’s very sad when our leader leads from behind on nearly every major issue facing our Country. California get tougher on gun laws, while Texas becomes lenient. If our President led from the front, he would develop a clear position for the Country to accept and then moved the entire Country in the same direction. Neva happen. Only pilikia across the land.

    • They hate Obama too much. He could never “develop a clear position for the country to accept,” because there are those who would oppose it simply because Obama promoted it. There was a joke going around during his first term; “If Obama ate a BLT, the next day the GOP would try to outlaw bacon.” Using that reverse psychology angle, I have thought that perhaps if he came out staunchly against any gun control, then the GOP might suddenly become for it.

      • PoiDoggy, your suggestion is leading from the front, don’t you think. Know your opposition, plan a strategy, then execute. President Obama executes, than plans a strategy. It’s sad, and at time funny.

  • The second amendment guarantees us “The right to bear arms”…So as far as the President taking away our guns away ??This is a moot discussion. For all you hunters ,Prepersa nd Gun enthusiasts…No Worries We already have strict laws across the country, and even more in California.
    In trying to finagle his way around Congress, let’s hope Barry and the DOJ don’t break that amendment ! This would be a …. NO, No!

    The problem is not the GUN, it’s the individual and ENFORCEMENT….BTW? Isn’t Chicago #1 in gang related gun violence? Correct me if i’m wrong.
    With the present gun laws already in place? Maybe more screening for the mentally ill?? But Really? How can you tell? They will only claim the Mentally ill card or mental instability after the crime is done!
    And Yes !!Let’s not forget those hundreds of Convicted Felons he freed from prison, because like everything else Obama touches? It has a….. Reverse Effect! I’d tread lightly. IMUA

  • Change begins at the very top….things will happen when all the secret service and the people who have armed protection gives up that benefit, Then and only then we’ll see something. Meanwhile gun sales are rising, Thanks to the guy in the WH.

  • People either forget or don’t know that it was Gov Ronald Reagan and his AG Edwin Meese who enacted tougher gun control laws in CA when they did not like black activists protesting at the state capitol with guns. The current interpretation of the Second amendment is less than 30 years old. It may- and well should -be changed to allow local authorities to ban/restrict ownership of certain weapons and magazines.

    • engineersoldier, “local authorities” already ban and restrict certain weapons and magazines irrespective of the 2nd Amendment. Ever try buying in Hawaii an over-the-counter or through mail order, an over 10-round capacity magazine for a modern pistol or 70-year-old M-1 carbine? If not, then please make the attempt soon and relay the results here.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up