President Obama said on Friday he’ll meet with Attorney General Loretta Lynch next week to discuss how to use White House powers to reduce gun violence, lamenting that Congress has “done nothing” and declaring he has “unfinished business.”
“I get too many letters from parents and teachers and kids to sit around and do nothing,” said Obama, who will meet with Lynch on Monday, after he returns from his Hawaii family vacation.
Obama directed his White House team a few months ago to explore ways he could reduce gun violence. And he is now expected to focus on using executive actions to tighten regulations on small-scale gun sellers, according to Politico.
Such a change would result in more sellers having to conduct background checks but wouldn’t completely close the so-called “gun show loophole,” which allows for firearm purchases at such venues without a check.
Obama on Friday pointed out his new efforts follow the third anniversary of the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school, in Newtown, Conn., in which a deranged gunman killed 20 children and six adults.
However, the Obama-driven effort in the aftermath of the massacre failed to get enough support for passage from Senate Democrats and Republicans.
“All across America, survivors of gun violence and those who lost a child, a parent, a spouse to gun violence are forced to mark such awful anniversaries every single day,” Obama said Friday. “Yet Congress still hasn’t done anything to prevent what happened to them from happening to other families.”
The president’s renewed efforts also follow a recent flurry of gun violence including a June 2015 incident in which nine people were shot inside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Charleston, S.C., and a Muslim husband-wife couple last month fatally shooting 14 people during a terror attack at a holiday party in San Bernardino, Calif.
Politico reported Obama was trying to make changes before his presidency ends in January 2017 and before the 2016 White House race further dominates the news and Americans’ attention.
The president also reportedly plans to tighten the definition of being “engaged in the business” of selling guns and impose tighter rules for reporting guns that get lost or stolen on their way to a buyer.
"President Obama failed to pass his anti-gun agenda though congress because the majority of Americans oppose more gun-control. Now he is doing what he always does when he doesn't get his way, which is defy the will of the people and issue an executive order," said NRA spokesperson Jennifer Baker.
"This is nothing more than a political stunt to appease anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg and will do nothing to increase public safety. The plain truth is that President Obama's gun-control agenda will only make it harder for law-aiding citizens to exercise their constitutional right to self-protection. It will not stop criminals."
Existing law states those who sell guns with the “principal objective of livelihood and profit” have to get a dealer’s license through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. That means they also have to conduct a background check on buyers no matter where they sell, including online or at a gun show.
In 2014, the ATF proposed that federal officials be notified about lost firearms, but the gun industry successfully argued that voluntary reporting was sufficient.