President Proposes Sweeping Gun Reform
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is asking Congress to expand background checks on gun buyers to include private sales and is using his executive authority to increase the information available in data banks in the background check system. The White House calls background checks the most efficient and effective way to keep guns away from dangerous individuals.
Obama wants Congress to close loopholes that permit private gun transactions to occur without background checks. The White House says nearly 40 percent of gun sales are conducted by private individuals now exempt from checking the backgrounds of buyers.
Obama is also ordering federal agencies to make “relevant data” available to the federal background check system and to remove barriers that might prevent states from providing information, particularly mental health data, for background checks.
In addition, President Barack Obama is taking 23 executive actions aimed at curbing gun violence that don’t require congressional action, including measures to encourage schools to hire police officers, increase research on gun violence and improve efforts to prosecute gun crime.
The executive actions are part of an overarching package assembled by a task force led by Vice President Joe Biden. The measures come a month after the mass shooting in Newtown, Ct., that killed 20 elementary school children.
Obama is directing the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence and is seeking rules to ensure that law enforcement conducts background checks before returning seized firearms.
He intends to nominate Todd Jones as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Jones is the agency’s acting director.