GOP firmly op­posed

The Denver Post - - NEWS -

White House of­fi­cials.

An­other mea­sure will re­quire fed­er­ally li­censed gun deal­ers to re­port any lost and stolen guns to the Na­tional Crime In­for­ma­tion Cen­ter.

Over the past five years, ac­cord­ing to the White House, an av­er­age of 1,333 guns re­cov­ered in crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions each year were traced back to a seller who claimed it was miss­ing but did not re­port it to au­thor­i­ties.

“This is a broad set of ac­tions that tack­les a va­ri­ety of the is­sues re­lated to gun violence,” said Arkadi Ger­ney, a se­nior fel­low at the lib­eral think tank Cen­ter for Amer­i­can Progress, “and in com­bi­na­tion it rep­re­sents a com­pre­hen­sive ef­fort to strengthen the laws we al­ready have on the books.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan, RWis., by con­trast, is­sued a state­ment Mon­day that said even with­out know­ing the plan’s ex­act de­tails, “the pres­i­dent is at min­i­mum subverting the leg­isla­tive branch and po­ten­tially over­turn­ing its will. … This is a dan­ger­ous level of ex­ec­u­tive over­reach, and the coun­try will not stand for it.”

Al­though the num­ber of mass shoot­ings in the United States has risen in re­cent years, over­all gun violence is at lower lev­els than in pre­vi­ous decades.

Obama, how­ever, em­pha­sized that gun deaths in the U.S. re­main higher than in other de­vel­oped coun­tries in al­most ev­ery cat­e­gory, in­clud­ing sui­cides.

His ad­min­is­tra­tion failed to per­suade law­mak­ers to ap­prove tighter leg­isla­tive con­trols on gun sales in 2013, in the wake of the De­cem­ber 2012 killings of 20 el­e­men­tary school stu­dents in New­town, Conn.

Af­ter that, the pres­i­dent is­sued a se­ries of 23 ex­ec­u­tive ac­tions to tighten con­trols and in­crease safety prepa­ra­tions, and he added two more in sub­se­quent years.

But the White House was moved to act again last year af­ter the shoot­ings at Um­pqua Com­mu­nity Col­lege in Ore­gon. Ad­min­is­tra­tion lawyers have spent months re­view­ing var­i­ous pro­pos­als to en­sure re­defin­ing what it means to be “en­gaged in the busi­ness” of sell­ing firearms can with­stand le­gal chal­lenges.

“The law has long been fuzzy, and the tran­si­tion of gun sales away from brick-and-mor­tar stores to gun shows and the In­ter­net re­quires the ad­min­is­tra­tion to clar­ify the def­i­ni­tion,” said Sen. Chris Mur­phy, D-Conn., who has urged Obama to act on his own. “By forc­ing more deal­ers at gun shows to run back­ground checks, there will be less crim­i­nals that buy guns and less il­le­gal guns sold on the streets of Amer­ica.”

Tele­vised town hall

Obama is sched­uled to talk about his new poli­cies in the East Room on Tues­day and will par­tic­i­pate in a tele­vised town hall at Ge­orge Ma­son Univer­sity two days later, which will be tele­vised on CNN.

Asked whether the White House was con­cerned that Repub­li­cans or gun-rights ad­vo­cates would chal­lenge Obama’s ac­tions, White House Press Sec­re­tary Josh Earnest said: “I wouldn’t be sur­prised if they try, but the ar­gu­ments we could mo­bi­lize in a court of law would be pow­er­ful and per­sua­sive.”

Even be­fore the un­veil­ing of the pack­age, nearly a half-dozen Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates have gone on the at­tack.

Ev­ery can­di­date who has spo­ken about the pro­posal has vowed to re­verse the ex­ec­u­tive or­der if elected pres­i­dent, un­der­scor­ing the fragility of any ini­tia­tive that has not won con­gres­sional ap­proval.

Speak­ing at a Chris­tian book­store Mon­day in Boone, Iowa, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called the idea “il­le­gal and un­con­sti­tu­tional,” a theme echoed by sev­eral of his col­leagues in re­cent days.

On Sun­day, Sen. Marco Ru­bio, R-Fla., told an au­di­ence in Ray­mond, N.H., that Obama “has waged war on the Con­sti­tu­tion.”

“You can pass all the gun laws in the world that you want,” he said. “It will not stop the crim­i­nals.”

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