Before an audience of gun control supporters, President Obama used his announcement of new executive actions on guns to issue a full throated call for action in Congress on gun control, as he accused Republicans of standing in the way of certain reforms.
“The gun lobby may be holding Congress hostage right now, but they cannot hold America hostage,” Mr. Obama said to cheers.
In the East Room of the White House, the President spent less time on the specifics of his executive actions, and more on putting public pressure on lawmakers.
“Congress needs to act,” the President said, calling for approval of a plan in Congress that would require background checks for most gun purchases.
The new executive actions drew differing reactions from Republicans, as some denounced it as a constitutional overreach, while others said the moves wouldn’t achieve much.
“The President’s latest proposal does not go as far as originally reported,” said Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R-VA), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who still vowed to “closely monitor the Administration’s actions.”
Other Republicans were more direct.
“The president is trampling the Constitution at the expense of law-abiding citizens,” said Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA).
“Barack Obama is obsessed with undermining the Second Amendment,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on the campaign trail.
Meanwhile, many Democrats cheered on the President.
“We have a moral responsibility to address the daily tragedy of gun deaths in our communities,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.
“I applaud President Obama’s bold executive actions taken today,” said Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL).
What do the executive actions do?
Despite the heated rhetoric of both sides in the debate over guns and gun violence, a look at the details of President Obama’s new round of executive actions on guns shows that there may not be dramatic changes in terms of gun control.
The effort that is getting the most attention is the move to expand background checks to more gun sales and to make sure gun sellers are licensed by the federal government.
The main thrust of the Obama executive actions is that the feds will more strictly enforce the existing laws, rules and regulations governing how firearms can be sold – an effort to push more sales to licensed dealers, which would include background checks on the gun buyer.
This is from the White House website:
The ATF issued an extensive document to provide guidance about how the law would be enforced, though it still left questions about who would ultimately have to register as a gun dealer.
“Determining whether you are “engaged in the business” of dealing in firearms requires looking at the specific facts and circumstances of your activities,” the ATF guidance stated.
You can read the document here.
The feds also issued other guidance, including new rules governing how gun dealers should report lost or stolen weapons to the feds.
New rules were also issued that will require a background check for people buying guns held by trusts, corporations, or other legal entities.
Are these major changes? It depends who you ask on the GOP side: