(Editor’s note: This article was a submission from freelance writer Mike Doran)
Democrats in Washington D.C. are asking President Obama to use executive action to close the so-called “gun-show loophole.”
Ninety-six representatives and 24 senators signed separate letters with the same message addressed to the president urging him to “investigate and pursue all available options under your executive authority to reduce gun violence,” reads the senate letter.
The purported loophole allows the private sale of firearms without a background check by those not “engaged in the business” with only licensed gun dealers required by law to perform the checks.
Specifically, the Democrats want the administration to provide clearer and broader language about who must administer background checks when selling a firearm.
“Updating the definition of ‘engaged in the business’ to provide more explicit guidance as to which gun sellers are required to obtain a federal firearms license would not impact a father giving a gun to his son, or an individual selling his gun on the internet,” the Senate letter reads. “But it will help ensure that individuals are not able to continue to exploit ambiguity in the current regulation and sell guns at a high volume without any oversight by ATF and without conducting background checks.”
The effort, led by Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Rep. Mike Thompson of California, echoes Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s pledge to use executive authority to close the loophole.
The language of the letters may be especially worrisome to gun rights advocates, with the House document urging the administration to act regardless of the elected officials who oppose tighter restrictions on the sale of firearms.
“In the face of Congressional inaction, your administration could take an immediate step that would have an important impact on limiting gun violence,” states the letter.
The senate letter goes even further, boldly stating the true intent of the action:
“This change would be a positive step forward in achieving universal background checks, a policy change that roughly 90 percent of Americans support.”
The Huffington Post notes that Obama has used his executive authority before, having signed 23 executive actions on gun control after the massacre at Sandy Hook. However, the administration argues, there is only so much Obama can do on his own.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said earlier this month that he’s not sure if Clinton’s proposal is actually feasible.
“I’m not sure that the administration has conducted a legal analysis of their specific proposals,” Earnest said during a Nov. 3 briefing. “But what the administration is doing, at the direction of the president, is actually carefully considering what authorities are available to the president and looking to see if there are some additional steps that can be taken to prevent criminals … from getting their hands on a gun so easily.”
What do you think? Will Obama attempt to redefine the language of “engaged in the business” via executive order? Will the president take the next step on the path toward universal background checks?