The White House announced Thursday two gun control executive actions: One to close a loophole that exists related to background checks and another to bar the reimportation of U.S. military weapons.
The executive orders, first announced by the Associated Press, come four months after a measure to expand background checks for gun buyers and other legislative efforts died in the Senate amid staunch opposition from the National Rifle Association and most Republican senators.
One new policy will end a government practice that lets military weapons, sold or donated by the U.S. to allies, be reimported into the U.S. by private entities, according to a fact-sheet released by the White House.
The other action requires individuals associated with trusts or corporations that acquire dangerous weapons to undergo background checks. Currently, the White House said, felons and others who would not be able to pass a background check can skirt the law by registering a gun to a corporation or trust and avoid a background check.
After the shootings last year in Newtown, Conn., President Obama took a number of executive actions to expand research into gun violence and other areas favored by the gun control community. He took the actions without congressional approval, leading to outrage by some conservatives.
"The President and Vice President remain committed to using all the tools in their power to make progress toward reducing gun violence," the White House said Thursday.
The White House fact sheet:
New Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence:
Today, the Obama administration announced 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. These executive actions build on the 23 executive actions that the Vice President recommended as part of the comprehensive gun violence reduction plan and the President unveiled on January 16, 2013.
Even as Congress fails to act on common-sense proposals, like expanding criminal background checks and making gun trafficking a federal crime, the President and Vice President remain committed to using all the tools in their power to make progress toward reducing gun violence.
Building on the 23 Executive Actions the President and Vice President Unveiled Last January
· Last December, the President asked the Vice President to develop a series of recommendations to reduce gun violence. On January 16, 2013, they released these proposals, including 23 executive actions. With the first Senate confirmation of an ATF Director on July 31, 2013, the Administration has completed or made significant progress on 22 of the 23 executive actions. The new executive actions unveiled today build on this successful effort.
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.