Obama set to tighten rules and checks on gun sales

WASHINGTON • United States President Barack Obama is expected to announce executive actions expanding background checks on gun sales, possibly as early as next week, according to media outlets here.

The changes would include requiring more small-scale gun sellers to be licensed and to conduct a background check whenever they sell a weapon, Politico reported.

Additional measures would impose tighter rules for reporting guns that are lost, or stolen, on their way to a buyer, the political news website said.

Planning for the move is not complete and the announcement may be delayed, CNN reported. But gun control advocates told the cable news channel they are expecting the actions to be announced ahead of Mr Obama's annual State of the Union address, scheduled for Jan 12.

A White House spokesman said Mr Obama was aware that Congress was unlikely to take legislative action to reform gun laws as he has demanded. "That is why he has asked his team to scrub existing legal authorities to see if there's any additional action we can take administratively," spokesman Eric Schultz said.

"The President has made it clear that he's not satisfied with where we are and expects that work to be completed soon," he added.

Mr Obama has repeatedly urged Congress to tighten gun laws, with his calls growing louder following the 2012 massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, and again this fall after mass shootings in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and San Bernardino, California.

The day after the San Bernardino attack, which killed 14 people and injured 21 last December, lawmakers in the US Senate debated gun control, but failed to advance any legislation addressing the violence.

Frustrated with little action from Congress, Mr Obama has vowed to use "whatever power this office holds" to put in place gun control steps via executive action.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2016, with the headline 'Obama set to tighten rules and checks on gun sales'. Print Edition | Subscribe