President Obama's Gun Control Initiative Details Released By White House Ahead Of His Official Announcement
In a live conference with Attorney General Loretta Lynch and FBI Director James Comey early Monday afternoon, President Obama introduced potential gun initiatives, with plans to officially announce them as executive actions on Tuesday. However, White House officials released a few preliminary details about the president's ideas as a lead-in to his Tuesday announcement, namely the expansion of background checks and an increase of federal enforcement of the nation's already-existing laws. Since historically, President Obama's attempts to alter gun laws have not succeeded, he now anticipates that evaluating and strengthening the implementation of current laws is his final chance at preventing (at least) some of the needless deaths in the U.S.
The president has already revealed that he hopes to classify gun collectors who sell a particular number of firearms per year as "gun dealers," rendering the buyers of firearms subject to background checks — something to which they are exempted under current laws. (The exact numerical requisite to earn the title of "dealer" is still unclear.) This will also encompass where and with what frequency guns are sold. Although these and other legislation may ultimately fall short of what the president tried to accomplish in 2013, Attorney General Loretta Lynch seems confident that this time something will succeed. She remarked:
We're very comfortable that the president can legally take these actions now.
Overall, these enforcement measures will not mandate background checks on all gun sales, since hobbyists and collectors will remain exempt; it will simply become more difficult to classify as either a hobbyist or a collector under legal definition. Additionally, the FBI will hire 230 more examiners to process background inspections, which should expedite the security process. Though in situations where the FBI requires extra time, only a three-day window may transpire before prospective buyers can purchase firearms without clearance. The administration also plans to discontinue the loophole that excuses guns purchased by trusts or corporations from background checks.
Just as importantly, the White House is striving for action to improve mental healthcare, and is asking Congress for $500 million to both enhance the system and endeavor to keep firearms from mentally unstable individuals. Expanding gun research and encouraging further federal prosecution of domestic violence cases also top the president's list, which he will cover in a nationally televised town hall on gun violence will occur on Jan. 7. The president's final State of the Union address is scheduled for Jan. 12.