President Obama has directly taken on the NRA by announcing an expansion of federal background checks for potential gun buyers.
In a fact sheet, the White House said, “Gun violence has taken a heartbreaking toll on too many communities across the country. 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. Many of these crimes were committed by people who never should have been able to purchase a gun in the first place. Over the same period, hundreds of thousands of other people in our communities committed suicide with a gun and nearly half a million people suffered other gun injuries. Hundreds of law enforcement officers have been shot to death protecting their communities. And too many children are killed or injured by firearms every year, often by accident. The vast majority of Americans—including the vast majority of gun owners—believe we must take sensible steps to address these horrible tragedies.”
President Obama’s administration has taken four steps to expand background checks:
· The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is making clear that it doesn’t matter where you conduct your business—from a store, at gun shows, or over the Internet: If you’re in the business of selling firearms, you must get a license and conduct background checks.
· ATF is finalizing 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.
· Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch has sent a letter to States highlighting the importance of receiving complete criminal history records and criminal dispositions, information on persons disqualified because of a mental illness, and qualifying crimes of domestic violence.
· The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is overhauling the background check system to make it more effective and efficient. 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.
No one should be able to buy a weapon without passing a background check. One of the interesting steps that President Obama is taking involves directing the Social Security Administration to begin the rulemaking process so that they can share data with the background check system about beneficiaries who are prohibited from owning firearms.
Contrary to what Republicans and their allies in the gun manufacturing industry suggest, none of these changes prohibit a law abiding citizen from purchasing and owning a gun. The executive actions are designed to catch people who are slipping through the cracks and legally buying weapons that they are not supposed to have access to.
President Obama is doing what the cowards in Congress can’t or won’t do. He is taking on the NRA with common sense steps to combat gun violence. His executive actions aren’t going to cure gun violence, but if the expanding background checks prevent one mass shooting, or keep one would be killer from buying guns, they will be a success.
The American people do not have to accept gun violence and mass shootings as a fact of life.
President Obama has stepped up, and now is the time for the American people to stand with him and tell the NRA that they have his back.