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

  • French premier steps down to focus on presidential election

    World News CTV News
    PARIS -- French Prime Minister Manuel Valls stepped down Tuesday to focus on running for president in next year's election and was replaced by Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, a man who embodies the fight against Islamic extremism. Source
  • Iran president not interested in Trump's views on nuclear deal

    World News CBC News
    Iran's president said on Tuesday that his country will not allow incoming U.S. President Donald Trump to "tear up" Iran's landmark nuclear deal with world powers and also warned Tehran will react to any extension of American sanctions. Source
  • Environmentalists still targeted by Revenue Canada

    Canada News CBC News
    A small environmental group opposed to Liberal pipeline policies is still under threat by the Canada Revenue Agency – almost five years after getting into trouble with the taxman for opposing Conservative pipeline policies. The tax agency has notified Environmental Defence Canada Inc. Source
  • 'A dating website designed by Fidel Castro': Opposition blasts Liberal electoral reform survey

    Canada News CBC News
    Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef mocked the electoral reform committee's final report last week, but several members returned the favour Monday after reviewing the government's new online survey on the topic. Conservative MP Scott Reid said MyDemocracy.ca "feels like being on a dating website designed by Fidel Castro. Source
  • Peak uncertainty: How to navigate this period of economic disorder and confusion

    Canada News CBC News
    We'd like to think we have a pretty good handle on how the world works. For help, we turn to experts who claim to understand the forces at play and the impact they will have on the economy and our lives. Source
  • Spokesman offers few clues on Trump's pipeline stance

    World News CTV News
    United States Marine Corps veteran Frank Russano, of the Outer Banks, N.C., walks through the Oceti Sakowin camp where people have gathered to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline in Cannon Ball, N.D., Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. Source
  • Music therapist, teacher, teens among warehouse fire victims

    World News CTV News
    OAKLAND, Calif. -- A therapist who used music to help kids cope with trauma. A woman who taught at a Montessori school. An energetic artist who could make friends with anyone. These were some of the people killed when flames ripped through a converted Oakland warehouse during a dance party Friday night. Source
  • Trial of B.C. polygamous sect followers to hear defence's closing arguments

    Canada News CTV News
    CRANBROOK, B.C. - A defence lawyer in a trial involving three people with ties to a British Columbia polygamous community is expected to deliver his closing arguments today. John Gustafson is representing Brandon Blackmore, who is accused of taking a 13-year-old girl into the United States for a sexual purpose in 2004. Source
  • Recovery of Oakland warehouse fire victims winds down; investigation looms

    World News CTV News
    OAKLAND, Calif. -- Some people were able to text loved ones goodbye and "I love you" before they died in an Oakland warehouse fire that claimed three dozen lives, officials said, as heart-rending reports of victims' last moments emerged from the most lethal building fire in the U.S. Source
  • 80 per cent of Filipino youth suffer violence, UNICEF survey says

    World News CTV News
    MANILA, Philippines - A United Nations agency that promotes children's rights says its survey shows a high prevalence of violence against Filipino children, with eight out of 10 suffering some form of physical or psychological abuse, with the highest number of incidents found among lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender youth. Source