President Barack Obama laid out his plan this morning for tightening gun control using the powers of his office in the absence of any meaningful Congressional action.
Being careful to point out that he is not attempting to make an end run around the Second Amendment, Obama said the gun lobby may have taken the Congress hostage, but “cannot hold America hostage.” The right of people to bear arms under the Second Amendment does not conflict with the need to deal with the increasing number of mass shootings in the U.S.
“This is not a plot to take away everybody’s guns,” the president said. “You pass a background check, you purchase a firearm. The problem is some gun sellers have been operating under a different set of rules.”
“Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad,” Obama said, referring to the 20 first-graders killed in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The White House also put gun sellers on notice that the administration will be strengthening enforcement of firearm sales— and as part of that effort the FBI will be hiring 230 new examiners to process background checks.
The president has made clear that he intends to do whatever he can to curb gun violence in the U.S., with or without Congressional action. He is finally committed to advancing a public policy issue that he has repeatedly raised but failed to act on until now– thanks in some part to the recent opinion of Attorney General Loretta Lynch that he in fact has the presidential power to do so.