Media outlets have been reporting for weeks that President Obama plans to announce an executive order regarding gun control during this first week of 2016. Today, the Los Angeles Times reports that Obama is scheduled to meet with Attorney General Loretta Lynch to “review possible actions he can take that will withstand legal challenges.”
Various media outlets have reported that sources say Obama’s impending executive order will require background checks for private gun sales like those conducted at some gun shows.
This story from usnews.com says the order could potentially be used “to force small-scale gun sellers to require background checks on prospective buyers, and to make it more difficult to sell guns to people who have committed crimes of domestic abuse.”
The President’s announcement, whatever its contents, is expected early this week. Obama has also announced he will be joining CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Thursday for an exclusive one-hour live town hall on gun control held at George Mason University in Virginia “in hopes of mounting a final pitch to the public.” The special, titled “Guns in America,” will air at 8 p.m., during which Obama will also take questions from the audience.
Though CNN points out experts say there are numerous circumstances that could delay the announcement of the executive order, but many expect the announcement at least ahead of Obama’s last State of the Union address on January 12.
CNN reports that House Speaker Paul Ryan said the White House has not contacted representatives about potential new legislation yet.
“The administration has not communicated with us, and we have not been briefed. We will consider options once we have information, but what seems apparent is none of these ideas would have prevented the recent atrocities,” said AshLee Strong, a spokesperson for Ryan. “Our focus should be on the consistent causes of these acts—mental illness and terrorism—rather than infringing on law-abiding Americans’ constitutional rights.”
Gun control advocates also expect a bolstering of regulations regarding the reporting of lost and stolen guns to be part of the President’s order as well. Currently, the BATFE is only required to investigate a gun theft if 10 or more guns are stolen and one of them is used in a crime.
Several Republican presidential hopefuls have responded to Obama’s impending order.
“You know, the system’s supposed to be you get the Democrats you get the Republicans, and you make deals. He can’t do that. He can’t do that,” said Republican frontrunner Donald Trump. “So he’s going to sign another executive order having to do with the Second Amendment, having to do with guns. I will veto. I will unsign that so fast.”
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio had a similar sentiment to offer. “All these executive orders he’s gonna come out with tomorrow that are going to undermine our Second Amendment rights—on my first day in office, they’re gone,” he said at a campaign stop in New Hampshire.
New Jersey governor Chris Christie said on “Fox News Sunday” that Obama “wants to act as if he is a king, as if he is a dictator. Fact is, if he wants to make changes to these laws, go to Congress and convince the Congress that they’re necessary. But this is going to be another illegal executive action, which I’m sure will be rejected by the courts and when I become President will be stricken from executive action by executive action I’ll take.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said, “His first impulse always is to take rights away from law-abiding citizens, and it’s wrong. And to use executive powers he doesn’t have is a pattern that is quite dangerous.”
“It is delusional, dangerous, not to mention unconstitutional, for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to continue talking about climate change and gun control in the wake of a Paris terrorist attack, in the wake of a San Bernardino terrorist attack, instead of how we can defeat ISIS,” Carly Fiorina told CNN’s Dana Bash.
Here was the Democratic candidates’ responses, according to the story:
“I would prefer that we could have bipartisan support, but the truth is Republicans aren’t interested in doing anything on gun safety,” said Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton said Sunday she’s “especially concerned (about 2016) because I know what a Republican president would mean.”
She argued a GOP president would repeal executive actions on Day 1, “including one that we expect (Obama) to make in the next weeks to try to do more to have background checks for more gun buyers by requiring more sellers to do them.”