In response to the latest mass shooting during his presidency, President Obama is seriously considering circumventing Congress with his executive authority and imposing new background-check requirements for buyers who purchase weapons from high-volume gun dealers.
Under the proposed rule change, dealers who exceed a certain number of sales each year would be required to obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and perform background checks on potential buyers.
As the president heads to Roseburg, Ore., on Friday to comfort the survivors and families of those killed in last week’s mass shooting at Umpqua Community College, the political calculus around his most vexing domestic policy issue is shifting once again.
After the Dec. 14, 2012, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., claimed the lives of 20 students and six staff members, Obama asked Vice President Biden to devise a list of policy proposals in response, and on Jan. 26, 2013, the president announced 23 executive actions ranging from restarting federal research into the causes of gun violence to providing parity for mental health coverage under private insurance plans. He pushed for legislation mandating universal background checks on gun sales, an effort that failed in the Senate in April 2013. In August that year, Obama closed two gun-sale loopholes through executive authority, subjecting gun purchases by corporations and trusts to background checks and banning almost all re-imports of military surplus firearms to private entities.
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