Obama executive action to expand background checks on gun sales

U.S. President Barack Obama © Kevin Lamarque
President Barack Obama said Monday he will use his legal authority to issue executive actions to close loopholes in the country’s gun laws.

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Obama said he will move forward with introducing measures which make background checks mandatory for those purchasing firearms from dealers, whether online or at gun shows.

Earlier in the day Obama said from the White House that gun violence has taken a heartbreaking toll on too many communities across the country, with “more than 100,000 people…killed [over the past decade] as a result of gun violence.”

Obama said many of the crimes “were committed by people who never should have been able to purchase a gun in the first place.”

The FBI will overhaul its background check system as a result of the executive orders and hire 230 more examiners to process the checks, offering the service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The administration is also proposing a new $500 million investment to increase access to mental health care.

Under the executive actions, the Social Security Administration will report to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System on beneficiaries who are prohibited from possessing a firearm for mental health reasons.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Human Services will remove the unnecessary legal barriers preventing states from reporting information about people prohibited from possessing a gun for mental health reasons.

The president also directed the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security to conduct or sponsor research into gun safety technology.

While many of these actions bypass the Republican-led Congress, lawmakers were asked to support the president’s request for 200 new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents and investigators to help enforce the country’s gun laws.