Obama issues new gun-control executive actions

The Obama administration announced two more gun-control executive actions Thursday that it says will help keep some of the most dangerous firearms out of the wrong hands.

Current law puts heavy restrictions on certain weapons such as machine guns and short-barreled shotguns including registration and a fingerprint-based background check, but some have sought to evade these requirements by registering such weapons to a trust or corporation. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reports it received more than 39,000 requests for transfers of these restricted firearms to trusts or corporations in 2012 alone.

The administration announced Thursday that ATF is issuing a new proposed regulation requiring that individuals associated with trusts or corporations acquiring such weapons must undergo background checks.

The other action deals with surplus military weapons. When the United States provides military firearms to its allies, either as direct commercial sales or through the foreign military sales or military assistance programs, those weapons can’t be imported back into the United States without federal approval. Since 2005, the government has authorized requests to re-import more than 250,000 of these firearms.

The administration said it will start denying all such requests by private entities, with only a few exceptions such as for museums.

Thursday’s actions follow almost two dozen other gun-control actions the Obama administration implemented in January.

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa, who is House Democrats’ gun-policy point man and co-author of a bipartisan background-check bill that’s still pending in the House, issued a statement saying the White House “has once again taken important steps that will help reduce and prevent gun violence. Now, Congress needs to act.

“Congress cannot continue standing by and doing nothing when more than 30 people are killed every day by someone using a gun,” Thompson said. “The most important thing we can do is pass my bipartisan bill requiring that anyone who buys a gun at a gun show or over the Internet get a background check. This is a commonsense step that will help keep guns from criminals, terrorists, and the dangerously mentally. The American people deserve for Congress to step up and vote on this bill.”

Thompson’s bill has 184 co-sponsors, including every member of the Bay Area’s House delegation.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    Wow, that’ll take a bite out of crime for sure.

    Thank you, feckless leader!

  • MichaelB

    More actions for the “low information” voters.

    Exactly what are these “surplus military” weapons that need to be restricted and no longer imported? Fully automatic firearms are already restricted under the National Firearms Act of 1934. Try getting permission to own one legally. And how many of these license holders commit crimes with them?

    We just have to prevent importation of those collectible M1 Garand rifles, Colt 1911s or M1 Carbines from the Korean War because that’s what gang members are using on the streets? Just plain silly and no evidence to back up these claims. The so called federal “assault weapons” ban (for those impressed by restricting “military” firearms) was ineffective when enacted earlier.

    Obama and his party leadership (who don’t believe in the 2nd Amendment) don’t want to address the “wrong hands” because it conflicts with their “progressive” policies (that exacerbate inappropriate and violent behavior).

    It’s so much easier (with the help of willing mainstream media outlets that is) to blame guns for violence, call “gun violence” a “public health” issue and peddle the myth that somehow criminals would even bother making requests to register firearms as a “trust” or “corporation”. And then refer to it as “common sense”. It’s just another illustration that people who want/support this don’t have any.

  • RRSenile Columnist

    Nostalgia: Back in the good old days, the locally made Saturday Night Special was as likely to injure the shooter as his intended victim