Obama weighs expanding background checks on guns with new executive order

Barack Obama, seated in chair, leaning back, right profile.

As President Obama headed to Oregon Friday to meet with the families of the Umpqua Community College shooting victims, his aides were revisiting an executive order that would require more gun dealers to conduct background checks on buyers. Juliet Eilperin reports:

The proposed executive action aims to impose background checks on individuals who buy from dealers who sell a significant number of guns each year. The current federal statute dictates that those who are “engaged in the business” of dealing firearms need to obtain a federal license — and, therefore, conduct background checks — but exempts anyone “who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms.”
White House officials drafted the proposal in late 2013 to apply to those dealers who sell at least 50

annually, after Congress had rejected legislation that would have expanded background checks more broadly to private sellers. While the White House Office of Legal Counsel and then-Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. initially concluded the regulation was legally defensible, according to several individuals involved in the discussions, some federal lawyers remained concerned that setting an arbitrary numerical threshold could leave the rule vulnerable to a challenge.

Changing this rule is something Hillary Clinton also included among her proposals to address gun violence earlier this week.

Democrats on Capitol Hill also introduced new gun safety measures this week. Frankly, it’s just good to see Democrats approaching the issue more aggressively.

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