Violence prevention groups are demanding that U.S. President Barack Obama ‘put his money where his mouth is’ and take decisive action on gun safety.
The call came on Monday after Obama met with Attorney General Loretta Lynch to discuss possible executive actions that could be taken to tighten U.S. gun rules.
During his address late last week, the president called the “epidemic of gun violence” a “piece of unfinished business” for his administration. With Congress refusing to take action on the matter, Obama said he is seeking alternatives, “Because I get too many letters from parents, and teachers, and kids, to sit around and do nothing.”
Dan Gross, president of national gun violence prevention group the Brady Campaign, saidthe group is “encouraged by what the President had to say, now it’s time for President Obama to make good on those words by using the full weight of his office to keep guns out of the hands of people we all agree shouldn’t have them.”
One legal option would redefine what it means to be a gun dealer forcing more people to get a license to sell guns, which, Reuters notes, “would trigger more background checks on buyers.”
The Brady Campaign has for years called for such restrictions on so-called “bad apple” gun dealers, as well as expanded background checks, which in most states are not required for sales made at gun shows or online.
“Ultimately,” Gross conceded, “Congress must finish the job…and put the safety of the American people ahead of the evil agenda of the corporate gun lobby and pass legislation.”
Congress has not approved major gun-control legislation since the 1990s. Perhaps not coincidentally, since 1990, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has spent nearly $22 million on contributions to lawmakers and, since 1998, over $38 million on lobby efforts,according to Open Secrets.
On Monday, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said the president was prepared for the inevitable legal challenges. “A lot of the work that has gone on has been to ensure that we would have confidence in the legal basis of these actions,” he said, adding that the proposals would be “within the legal ability of the president of the United States to carry out.”
And Gross added: “Make no mistake, these are real solutions that will have a dramatic impact on the devastating toll of gun violence in our nation, just by keeping guns out of the hands of the people we all agree should not have them and without infringing whatsoever on the right of a law abiding citizen to safely buy or own guns. As gun violence continues to claim 89 American lives every single day, it’s our hope the President takes the immediate and meaningful action we have recommended.”
In 2015, there were more than 13,300 reported deaths related to gun violence, according to an online database of such incidents.
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