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The Obama administration is investigating ways to change the nation’s gun laws by circumventing Congress and using executive action. The current Congress, led by Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), has been adamantly pro-guns and dismiss any suggestions of limited an individual’s gun rights.
The Department of Justice held a meeting with a group of stakeholders in the ongoing gun-policy debates in March. Administration officials suggested that part of the discussion was expected to center around the White House’s options for changing gun control policy on its own or through its agencies and departments. The administration has proposed changes on far-reaching issues ranging from beefing up background checks to encouraging better data-sharing between agencies.
Officials admit that executive orders are one of many options that the President and his advisors are considering. “The purpose of these discussions is to be a productive exchange of good ideas from folks across the spectrum,” one official said. “We think that’s a good place to start.”
House Democrats, in the meantime, have introduced legislation that would make essential changes to the nation’s background check for gun purchases. At a press conference announcing the legislation, the bill’s sponsor Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) joined with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to drum up support for the measure. “Too often, any serious discussion about guns devolves into ideological arguments that have nothing to do with the real problem,” Bloomberg, a co-founder of the coalition Mayors Against Illegal Guns, told reporters at a press event outside the Capitol. “Our coalition strongly believes in the Second Amendment. We also know from experience that we can keep guns away from dangerous people without imposing burdens on law-abiding gun owners.”
President Obama began the gun debate earlier in the month when he wrote an op-ed column for the Arizona Daily Star. In his piece, Obama outlined his ideas for gun control reform, including stronger state-to-state coordination, expedited background checks and greater enforcement of the laws already on the books. Not surprisingly, the National Rifle Association immediately responded to Obama’s article with criticism. Past administrations and lawmakers have always acted out of fear of the powerful lobbying group. Even suggesting in the wake of the Arizona shooting that firearm access should be restricted was met with a quick and harsh response from the NRA.
The Obama administration is now acting and trying to change the ridiculous laws still on the books that allow citizens nearly as much firepower as the military, despite the protests from the NRA. The meeting today is the first of a series of meetings about possible options to reverse lax gun laws.