President Obama announces executive action to invest in gun safety
President Barack Obama outlined a plan to regulate gun sales and potentially reduce gun violence, at a press conference Jan. 5. Obama addressed an audience composed of the media, families of gun violence victims and gun violence survivors, including former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
The four focuses the President outlined involved background checks, gun violence, mental health and gun safety technology.
“Anybody in the business of selling firearms must get a license and conduct background checks, or be subject to criminal prosecutions,” Obama said. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing it over the Internet or at a gun show.”
Obama also discussed the expansion of background checks to include the people behind legal entities that buy firearms. The FBI, which processes background checks, has plans to hire more than 230 new employees to process those background checks and notify local authorities when prohibited individuals attempt to buy guns.
To reduce gun violence, the Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives is planning to hire 200 new agents by 2017 to enforce gun laws. ATF will also require that dealers who ship firearms report lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement.
Obama said the Department of Health and Human Services will allow states to report relevant mental health information in the case that a person with mental health issues is prohibited from buying guns.
The final set of changes the President outlined involved improving gun safety technology.
According to a press release from the Office of the White House Press Secretary, “the President has directed the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security to conduct or sponsor research into gun safety technology.”
“If we can set it up so you can’t unlock your phone unless you’ve got the right fingerprint, why can’t we do the same thing for our guns?” Obama said.
“If there’s an app that can help us find a missing tablet – which happens to me often the older I get – if we can do it for your iPad, there’s no reason we can’t do it with a stolen gun. If a child can’t open a bottle of aspirin, we should make sure that they can’t pull trigger on a gun. Right?”