In a press conference on Tuesday, President Obama announced that a series of policies will be put into place in order to make the requirements for the purchase of firearms more rigorous. This measure will make the requirementsto sell a gun more strict and the background check process to be more stringent. The new policy will be put into place without congressional consent.
In his speech, Obama noted that the United States is not the only country that is home to violent and dangerous people. He said that, although our country may not be prone to violence any more than the rest of the world, it is the only advanced country on earth that frequently experiences episodes of mass violence. The president, who was surrounded by many people who had lost loved ones as a result of gun violence, even teared up during his speech as he told tales of gun violence victims and warned the public about the effects this kind of violence has on our country. He mentioned that, instead of contemplating how we can solve the problem, we instead start to think that this violence is normal.
The president hopes that the new executive actions will restrain gun violence in a few different ways. One important part of the policy is the attempt to close a hole in the law that gives people the option to purchase guns from private vendors and avoid the background check process. A statement from the White House provided more information on this policy, stating that, no matter where guns are sold, all vendors who sell firearms or intent to sell them must obtain a license and agree to perform background checks on each potential buyer.
The new policy also states that $500 million will be invested in improving access to mental health services. This money will also go towards eliminating rules that prevent current background checking systems from collecting data about people who are banned from purchasing guns due to mental health issues. Additionally, White House officials stated that more funding will be given to the Bureaus of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in order to enforce these new laws. To make background checks more efficient, the FBI will be revamping their background check system and hiring additional examiners to speed up the process.
Also during his speech, Obama expressed a degree of rancor toward the gun lobby for putting a halt on even the simplest gun reform measures government officials have considered in the past. The new policy was enacted after the Obama administration began developing a case regarding the actions that could be taken against gun violence without having to implement legislation that would be sent for approval to Congress, who has previously been extremely resistant to small gun control measures. Obama also stated in his press conference that Americans are in consensus about what needs to be done in this situation. Although it is true that more extensive background checks are favorable to most Americans, a ban on assault weapons all together is not as favorable. In fact, according to recent polls, the support for a ban on assault weapons is lower than 50 percent.