The Jan. 5 White House measure clarifies that individuals “in the business of selling firearms” register as licensed gun dealers, attempting to narrow the so-called “gun show loophole,” which exempts most small sellers from performing background checks prior to sales.
Obama defended his actions to strengthen background checks for purchasing guns, attempting to rebut critics who say the measure would not make it harder for criminals to obtain firearms.
“Each time this comes up, we are fed the excuse that common-sense reforms like background checks might not have stopped the last massacre, or the one before that, or the one before that, so why bother trying,” Obama said. “I reject that thinking.”
“We know we can’t stop every act of violence, every act of evil in the world. But maybe we could try to stop one act of evil, one act of violence,” he added.
Comparing his push for gun control to steps to reduce traffic deaths, lock iPads, and prevent children from opening bottles of aspirin, the President insisted that his actions are “not a plot to take away everybody’s guns.”
In addition to expanding the background check system, Obama said the administration will provide more funding for mental health records to be accessed as part of the background check system, additional FBI staff and more Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives agents.
The Reaction – Why Not Enforce Existing Laws?
On Capitol Hill, the reaction as Obama had predicted. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, said Obama’s actions “will no doubt be challenged in the courts” and “can be overturned by a Republican President.”
Ryan said in a statement “From day one, the President has never respected the right to safe and legal gun ownership that our nation has valued since its founding. He knows full well that the law already says that people who make their living selling firearms must be licensed, regardless of venue. Still, rather than focus on criminals and terrorists, he goes after the most law-abiding of citizens. His words and actions amount to a form of intimidation that undermines liberty.”
Presidential candidate responses largely reflected their partisan affiliation. Unencumbered by the need for campaign posturing, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott who tweeted, “Obama Wants to impose more gun control. My response? COME & TAKE IT.”
Clearly, not everyone is impressed with the new gun control effort. Social media networks are heating up with citizen’s weighing in, including sharing on Facebook the latest NRA video response to the question of preventing gun violence (below).
As one Facebook user put it: “I don’t think anybody is trying to take my personal gun away. But I do think that any executive action other than what is stated in this video is targeting the wrong group of individuals. Creating more laws for law abiding citizens and restricting their access isn’t going to stop the guys who don’t follow the law anyway. If we don’t enforce current laws, then everything said by the President is nothing but a dog and pony show.”