President Obama made his New Year’s resolution known on Thursday: trample the Second Amendment under executive orders.
White House officials told CNN on Thursday that Obama’s gun-control measures are “imminent.” Supporters of the president said they expect an announcement to be made sometimes before the annual State of the Union address scheduled for Jan. 12.
“It is complicated. That’s why it’s taken some time for our policy folks, our lawyers, and our experts to work through this and see what’s possible,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz told CNN.
Obama has struggled to find a way to close the so-called “gun show loophole” since the Dec. 12, 2012, shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, by 20-year-old Adam Lanza.
Six adults and 20 children were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School before Lanza committed suicide. He executed his mother in their home earlier that day.
The loophole allegedly allows criminals to circumvent background checks through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS.
Individuals familiar with the president’s plan say it will change the definition of a small-scale gun owner, which requires them to conduct a background check any time a weapon is sold.
Gun-rights advocates say the vast majority of prisoners convicted of gun crimes obtained weapons through theft; countless crimes are committed by those who steal weapons; and criminals often obtain weapons from straw purchasers, which background checks cannot prevent.
“[Obama] is doing what he always does when he doesn’t get his way, defying the will of the people and using executive action,” NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker told CNN Thursday. “The fact is, the President’s gun control agenda will only make it harder for law-abiding citizens to exercise their right to self-defense.”
A top industry executive told Politico Obama’s plan is a prime example of “overreach” given Congress’ current definition of a small-scale seller.
“If you are not doing it for the principal purpose of earning a livelihood and earn a profit, you are not engaged in the business as defined by Congress,” the executive, whose opinion was shaped by conversations with ATF officials this month, told the website.
Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun-control group launched by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2014, told Politico its ideal executive orders by Obama would make the following criteria a red flag for requiring a license:
- Selling guns in original packaging.
- Reselling a gun soon after it has been acquired.
- Maintaining a certain quantity of guns for sale.
- Selling more than 25 guns a year.
“Any kind of clarification would be beneficial in this context because right now most sellers and prosecutors are kind of flying blind,” said Liz Avore, Everytown’s legal director.
One of the last things Obama did before leaving for his Hawaiian vacation Dec. 18 was to meet with Bloomberg.
The White House told CNN Dec. 18 that Obama and Bloomberg “discussed ways to keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have access to them and what more could be done at the state and local level to help address gun violence in America.”