Obama to introduce gun control measures bypassing Congress

Improvements include processing background checks 24x7 and improving notification of local authorities when certain prohibited persons unlawfully attempt to buy a gun.

January 05, 2016 01:54 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 03:00 am IST - Washington

File photo shows gun control activists rallying in front of the White House in Washington.

File photo shows gun control activists rallying in front of the White House in Washington.

U.S. President Barack Obama is set to introduce a series of gun control executive measures, including expanding background checks, bypassing the Congress in a bid to control mass shooting menace that has claimed over 100,000 lives in the last decade.

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, the White House said.

Receiving a set of recommendations in this regard from his Attorney General and FBI Director, Obama said, “So over the next several days, we’ll be rolling out these initiatives. We’ll be making sure that people have a very clear understanding of what can make a difference and what we can do,” Obama said.

“Although we have to be very clear that this is not going to solve every violent crime in this country, it’s not going to prevent every mass shooting, it’s not going to keep every gun out of the hands of a criminal, it will potentially save lives and spare families the pain and the extraordinary loss that they’ve suffered as a consequence of a firearm getting in the hands of the wrong people,” said the US President.

Obama may ignite political firestorm by bypassing Congress with these measures, which could spark legal challenges.

Republicans say Obama is misusing his powers.

Congress, which is controlled by Republicans, had previously rejected Obama’s proposals for legislation to tighten gun rules.

Obama, however, exuded confidence that the recommendations that are being made by his team are ones that are entirely consistent with the Second Amendment and people’s lawful right to bear arms.

“These are not only recommendations that are well within my legal authority and the executive branch, but they’re also ones that the overwhelming majority of the American people, including gun owners, support,” Obama said.

According to a White House fact sheet, over the past decade in America, more than 100,000 people have been killed as a result of gun violence-and millions more have been the victim of assaults, robberies, and other crimes involving a gun.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is making clear that if one is in the business of selling firearms, they must get a license and conduct background checks.

“ATF is finalising 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,” the White House said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is overhauling the background check system to make it more effective and efficient.

Meanwhile, Obama in a memorandum directed the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security to conduct or sponsor research into gun safety technology.

He 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.

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