Obama to tighten private gun sales

President Obama to announce executive actions that will expand background checks for weapons and step up federal enforcements

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

US President Obama speaks during his meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch (L) and top law enforcement officials to discuss what executive actions he can take to curb gun violence, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington January 4

The Obama administration will announce gun control measures on Tuesday that will require more gun sellers to get licenses and more gun buyers to undergo background checks in the United States.

The draft also states that more funding will be provided for mental health treatment, the Federal Bureau Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives agents.

President Obama told reporters before the draft was publicised, that they were consistent with the US Constitution's Second Amendment, which protects the 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 during a meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch and other advisers.

Republicans accuse Obama of misusing his powers due to bypassing Congress with the measures.

The president consulted his advisers concerning the examination of new ways in which he could use his executive authority in order to take control of gun sales which Congress has failed to do anything about in recent days.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch says that many people will be affected by the changes.

But Democrats say personal arming needs to be controlled in order to save people's lives. As seen on Christmas Day alone, 27 people were killed in gun violence while 63 were injured.

In the last decade, 300,000 people have been killed by guns in the US.

According to federal records, there were 52,000 firearms incidents in 2015 across the country resulting in 13,312 deaths and leaving around 27,000 people injured. There were 330 mass shootings in which at least four people were shot.

Congress has not approved of any major gun-control legislations since the 1990s.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, a member of the Republican Party, responded dismissively to the administration's plans.

"While we don't yet know the details of the plan, the President is at minimum subverting the legislative branch, and potentially overturning its will," Ryan said in a statement Monday.

"His proposals to restrict gun rights were debated by the United States Senate, and they were rejected. No President should be able to reverse legislative failure by executive fiat, not even incrementally."

The US Senator from Texas and member of the Republican Party Ted Cruz’s spokeswoman Catherine Frazier this weekend called Obama's plan "complete lunacy," and she said on Monday that the president "is once again going to abuse his power to try seize our guns."

Hillary Clinton who is a candidate for presidency of the United States in the 2016 presidential election says that she applauded Obama’s new push.

"We've got to act," she said, "but I don't think that's enough and I think we're going to have to keep pushing forward on the political front and I intend to do that, to take on the gun lobby and to work with responsible gun owners."

The US states have different approaches concerning gun control, for instance Texas has legalised openly carrying handguns while New York and Connecticut have banned high-capacity magazines.

In 2008, the US Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment of the US Constitution protects the rights of individual Americans to keep and bear arms. But the court also recognised that laws imposing conditions on commercial guns sale can be consistent with the Second Amendment.

TRTWorld and agencies