President Barack Obama is thinking about implementing a new gun control measure by executive order and without the support of Congress.
The proposed rule change would require anyone who sells more than 50 guns a year to obtain a federal license and conduct background checks on potential buyers, reports The Washington Post. Obama opted against changing the rule by executive order in the past, apparently for legal reasons and because it’s unpopular.
His staff came up with the background check expansion idea after Congress rejected legislation to expand them to private sellers in 2013. But some federal lawyers worried it wouldn’t hold up under a legal challenge, and ATF officials worried it would be hard to enforce and might affect too many sellers.
“Everyone realized it would be hugely politically controversial,” an individual close to the discussions told The Washington Post. (RELATED: Roseburg Residents Buy Guns In Wake Of Oregon Shooting)
In the wake of the Oregon shooting, Obama is now “seriously considering” using his executive power to change that rule and implement other restrictions on gun rights. He discussed the idea with Attorney General Loretta Lynch following the Charleston shooting, and a group of White House staffers is now working on the proposal.
Current law exempts anyone who occasionally sells guns for personal reasons, such as enhancement of their collection or as a hobby, from the requirement to obtain a federal license and perform background checks. The new rule could draw many of those formerly exempted people in.
Some gun control activists are pushing him to take stronger action. “We have traveled here from across the nation to challenge you to stop whining about the power you don’t have, and start acting with the power you do have,” a Baptist pastor said at a recent gun control rally in Washington.
Obama is visiting Roseburg, Ore., Friday to address those involved in the shooting, despite a vocal protest from many local residents who say he’s trying to capitalize on their pain.
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