Obama unveils new executive actions pushing gun control

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Obama meets with mayors
Photo credit: Pete Souza
Official White House photo

President Obama promised a group of mayors during a closed-door meeting on Tuesday that he would take executive action where needed to “reduce gun violence.” He didn’t waste any time getting it done.

The White House released Thursday “two new common-sense executive actions to keep the most dangerous firearms out of the wrong hands and ban almost all re-imports of military surplus firearms to private entities.”

Lamenting Congress’ failure to act on “common-sense” proposals, the statement affirms the president’s and vice-president’s commitment to making progress on gun control.

The new executive actions build on the 23 others first released in January. The administration touts completing or making significant progress on 22 of the 23, calling it a successful effort.

The new actions as described by the White House:

Closing a Loophole to Keep Some of the Most Dangerous Guns Out of the Wrong Hands

•Current law places special restrictions on many of the most dangerous weapons, such as machine guns and short-barreled shotguns.  These weapons must be registered, and in order to lawfully possess them, a prospective buyer must undergo a fingerprint-based background check.

• However, felons, domestic abusers, and others prohibited from having guns can easily evade the required background check and gain access to machine guns or other particularly dangerous weapons by registering the weapon to a trust or corporation.  At present, when the weapon is registered to a trust or corporation, no background check is run.  ATF reports that last year alone, it received more than 39,000 requests for transfers of these restricted firearms to trusts or corporations.

•Today, ATF is issuing a new proposed regulation to close this loophole.  The proposed rule requires individuals associated with trusts or corporations that acquire these types of weapons to undergo background checks, just as these individuals would if the weapons were registered to them individually.  By closing this loophole, the regulation will ensure that machine guns and other particularly dangerous weapons do not end up in the wrong hands.

Keeping Surplus Military Weapons Off Our Streets

•When the United States provides military firearms to its allies, either as direct commercial sales or through the foreign military sales or military assistance programs, those firearms may not be imported back into the United States without U.S. government approval.  Since 2005, the U.S. Government has authorized requests to reimport more than 250,000 of these firearms.

•Today, the Administration is announcing a new policy of denying requests to bring military-grade firearms back into the United States to private entities, with only a few exceptions such as for museums.  This new policy will help keep military-grade firearms off our streets.

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