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Obama To Adopt More Gun Controls—Without Congressional Approval

President Obama Announces Vice President Biden To Lead Interagency Task Force On Gun ControlPresident Obama Announces Vice President Biden To Lead Interagency Task Force On Gun Control
President Barack Obama announces proposed gun reforms in December 2012. The legislation ultimately failed. Photograph by Alex Wong — Getty Images

President Barack Obama’s second term in office has already been marked by historic executive orders—initiatives he can sign into law without Congressional approval—and he plans to kick off the new year by exercising his unilateral authority again—this time to tackle the most controversial political issue of the day: gun control.

The president is set to meet with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Monday to finalize several gun control measures that he’s expected to announce soon, according to The Washington Post.

His main reform is to close a loophole that lets occasional, unlicensed gun dealers like online and gun show retailers dodge background checks for gun buyers. The Post reports the mass shooting in Umpqua Community College in Oregon that left ten people dead prompted Obama’s most recent push to tighten gun restrictions, and that lawyers in the administration have spent months reviewing the legality of proposals that the president could sign into law without first going through Congress.

President Obama supported comprehensive gun reforms after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, but the effort ultimately failed in Congress.

The president said in his weekly radio address on Friday that a few months ago he directed his team to look into any new actions he could take to help reduce gun violence. “And on Monday, I’ll meet with our attorney general, Loretta Lynch, to discuss our options,” he said.


Executive orders are typically a near-last resort for addressing legislative issues since they are easily reversed when the current president leaves office. Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has voiced support for requiring informal gun dealers to obtain licenses, but any initiatives that Obama signs could meet opposition from Republican contenders.