Obama may take executive action on 'epidemic of gun violence'

HONOLULU -- U.S. President Barack Obama will meet Monday with Attorney General Loretta Lynch to discuss executive actions he could take to make it harder for "a dangerous few" to get their hands on guns.

See Full Article

Obama said on his weekly radio address that he gets so many letters from parents, teachers and children about the "epidemic of gun violence" that he can't "sit around and do nothing."

"The gun lobby is loud and well organized in its defence of effortlessly available guns for anyone," Obama said. "The rest of us are going to have to be just as passionate and well organized in our defence of our kids."

Obama recently directed staff at the White House to look into potential executive actions, such as expanding background checks.

Currently, federally licensed firearms dealers are required to seek background checks on potential firearm purchasers. But advocacy groups say some of the people who sell firearms at gun shows are not federally licensed, increasing the chance of sales to customers prohibited by law from purchasing guns.

A source familiar with the administration's efforts said Obama is expected to take executive action next week that would set a "reasonable threshold" for when sellers have to seek a background check. That person didn't know whether it would be based on the number of guns sold or revenue generated through gun sales.

The source, a member of a gun control advocacy group, was not authorized to discuss details before the announcement and spoke on condition of anonymity. White House officials won't confirm the timing.

Obama is in Hawaii for his annual holiday vacation with his family.

In his efforts to work around a Congress that has often been politically gridlocked, Obama has made aggressive use of executive power, particularly on immigration. It has been an increasingly effective and politically accepted presidential tool. And while legal scholars are divided on whether Obama has accelerated or merely continued a drift of power toward the executive branch, there's little debate that he's paved a path for his successor.

Depending on who succeeds him, many Obama backers could rue the day they cheered his "pen-and-phone" campaign to get past Republican opposition in Congress. The unilateral steps he took to raise environmental standards and ease the threat of deportation for millions of immigrants in the U.S. illegally may serve as precedent for moves they won't cheer.

The National Rifle Association opposes expanded background check systems. The organization's Institute for Legislative Action says studies have shown that people sent to state prison because of gun crimes typically get guns through theft, the black market or family and friends.

Also, many purchases by criminals are made from straw purchasers who pass background checks. "No amount of background checks can stop these criminals," says the group's website.

Obama has consistently expressed frustration after mass shootings, saying it shouldn't be so easy for somebody who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun.

Going into his final year in office, Obama said his New Year's resolution is to move forward on unfinished business.

"That's especially true for one piece of unfinished business, that's our epidemic of gun violence," Obama said in his weekly address.

He said a bipartisan bill from three years ago requiring background checks for virtually everyone had huge support, including among a majority of NRA households. But the Senate blocked it.

He said tens of thousands of Americans have since died as a result of gun violence.

"Each time, we're told that commonsense reforms like background checks might not have stopped the last massacre, or the one before that, so we shouldn't do anything," he said. "We know that we can't stop every act of violence. But what if we tried to stop even one?"



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 'Why are you following me?' Video of Calgary man followed by Walmart security guard goes viral

    Canada News CTV News
    A Calgary man says he began recording a recent experience he had at a local Walmart after he says he was closely followed by a security guard. Jean Ventose, a 21-year-old University of Calgary student, says he picked up a pair of headphones from the electronics department when he noticed a security guard was following him. Source
  • Perez, Ellison head to second ballot in DNC race

    World News CTV News
    ATLANTA -- Democrats elected former Labor Secretary Tom Perez as their new national chairman on Saturday over a liberal Minnesota congressman after a divisive campaign that reflected the depths of the party's electoral failures as well as the energy from resistance to President Donald Trump. Source
  • Hockey hero homicide [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    Thomas Clayton ticked the boxes for a podunkville jock on the slippery side of 40. He was handsome, gregarious, reckless and loved the ladies. This potent cocktail is a heady rush when you’re 20 – a disaster as a fully-formed adult. Source
  • Large sewage spill in Tijuana, Mexico, flows north of border

    World News CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Officials in Southern California are crying foul after more than 140 million gallons of raw sewage spilled into the Tijuana River in Mexico and flowed north of the border for more than two weeks, according to a report. Source
  • Germany: Man hits 3 with car and flees, is shot by police

    World News CTV News
    BERLIN -- A man apparently drove a car into pedestrians in a central square in the German city of Heidelberg on Saturday, injuring three people, then fled and was shot after being tracked down by officers, police said. Source
  • Florida man accused of stealing US$150,000 Maserati during test-drive

    World News Toronto Sun
    BOCA RATON, Fla. — A Maserati is missing after police say a man conned a salesman during a test drive. Boca Raton police say 45-year-old Michael McGilvary II went to a dealership to test drive a US$150,000 Maserati GranTurismo. Source
  • Man hits 3 with car in Heidelberg, Germany

    World News CBC News
    A man apparently drove a car into pedestrians in a central square in the German city of Heidelberg on Saturday, injuring three people, then fled and was shot after being tracked down by officers, police said. Source
  • Syrian cinematographer barred from U.S. ahead of Oscars; stars gather at unity rally

    World News CBC News
    U.S. immigration authorities are barring entry to a 21-year-old Syrian cinematographer who worked on a harrowing film about his nation's civil war, The White Helmets, that has been nominated for an Academy Award. According to internal Trump administration correspondence seen by The Associated Press, the Department of Homeland Security has decided at the last minute to block Khaled Khateeb from travelling to Los Angeles for the Oscars. Source
  • Wisconsin man gets 3 1/2 years for cutting off woman's finger to honour dead Insane Clown Posse fan [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    GREEN BAY, Wis. — A Wisconsin man has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison after pleading no contest last year to cutting off a woman’s finger as part of a ritual to honour a fellow rap music fan. Source
  • Homeland Security report downplays threat from 7 nations in Trump travel ban

    World News CBC News
    Analysts at the U.S. Homeland Security Department's intelligence arm found insufficient evidence that citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries included in President Donald Trump's travel ban pose a terror threat to the United States. A draft document obtained by The Associated Press concludes that citizenship is an "unlikely indicator" of terrorism threats to the United States and that few people from the countries Trump listed in his travel ban have carried out attacks or been involved in…