Published January 5, 2015
WASHINGTON — Getting around a do-nothing Congress on gun control in the United States, President Barack Obama on Tuesday issued executive actions to reduce gun violence to make American communities safer.
“The constant excuses for inaction no longer do, no longer suffice,” stated President Obama from the White House, surrounded by victims of gun violence.
“Instead of thinking of how to solve the problem, this has become one of our most polarized, partisan debates. We do need to feel a sense of urgency about it.”
Gun violence has taken a heartbreaking toll on too many communities across the country. Over the past decade in America, more than 100,000 people have been killed as a result of gun violence—and millions more have been the victim of assaults, robberies, and other crimes involving a gun. Many of these crimes were committed by people who never should have been able to purchase a gun in the first place.
While some of the specific details of the executive actions are still being worked out across federal departments and agencies, the Administration is announcing a series of commonsense executive actions designed to:
- Keep guns out of the wrong hands through background checks.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is making clear that it doesn’t matter where you conduct your business—from a store, at gun shows, or over the Internet: If you’re in the business of selling firearms, you must get a license and conduct background checks.
- Make our communities safer from gun violence.
The President’s FY2017 budget will include funding for 200 new ATF agents and investigators to help enforce our gun laws.
- Increase mental health treatment and reporting to the background check system.
The Administration is proposing a new $500 million investment to increase access to mental health care.
- Shape the future of gun safety technology.
The President has directed the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security to conduct or sponsor research into gun safety technology.
The President has also directed the departments to review the availability of smart gun technology on a regular basis, and to explore potential ways to further its use and development to more broadly improve gun safety.