President Obama on Monday proposed actions to tighten gun-control restrictions, including ramping up background checks and the enforcement of existing gun laws.
“Although we have to be very clear that this is not going to solve every violent crime in this country—it’s not going to prevent every mass shooting, it’s not going to keep every gun out of the hands of a criminal—it will potentially save lives and spare families the pain and the extraordinary loss that they’ve suffered as a consequence of a firearm getting in the hands of the wrong people,” the president told reporters after meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch Monday afternoon.
But his long-anticipated move failed to carry the weight many expected. Rather than completely closing the gun-show loophole—which allows millions of guns to be sold sans background checks online or at conventions—the administration will clarify the existing law that anyone in the business of selling guns must get a license and conduct background checks. Lynch described the measure as a “clarification” of what’s already on the books.
“This guidance gathers existing case law and existing cases that have been litigated in the past so that in one place, there is clear definitive standards set forth for anyone who seeks to sell a firearm, so they can know, surely and certainly, if they are required to register or not,” Lynch said. “It’s our hope that this will improve compliance, but it’s also our hope that this will provide clear notice to those individuals who seek to hide behind the exceptions of collectors or personal sellers, when they are in fact actually selling guns for profit.”