In the wake of Sandy Hook, President Barack Obama said he would make changes in gun laws, but it soon became clear he would have to do it by executive order without the approval of Congress.
According to The Associated Press on Thursday, “the new policy will end a government practice that lets military weapons, sold or donated by the US to allies, be re-imported into the US by private entities, where some may end up on the streets. The White House said the US has approved 250,000 of those guns to be reimported since 2005; under the new policy, only museums and a few other entities like the government will be eligible to reimport military-grade firearms.”
After the Sandy Hook slaughter of elementary school children last year, Sen. Dianne Feinstein proposed sweeping restrictions on assault weapons in January that included requirements for background checks, but it was soundly defeated by Republicans in Congress.
On Thursday Obama took two more steps toward that commitment.
In addition, the administration wants to stop the ability of individuals to get around criminal background checks by registering their gun purchase to a “corporation or trust.”
Vice President Joe Biden announced the executive actions Thursday, when he swore in Todd Jones as the new head of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Biden said they were common-sense measures that don’t require congressional approval.
After the Newtown tragedy, Obama appointed Biden to form a committee to represent all parties, including special interest groups and to report back to the White House with suggestions on how to reform the current gun laws.
So far, nothing has satisfied Congress, gun manufacturers or the National Rifle Association. They wasted no time in framing gun reform as attempts to strip people of their Second Amendment rights, although the Feinstein bill exempted almost 200 weapons and grandfathered in current ownership, with more accent on gun safety to prevent slaughter of innocents than on controlling gun ownership.
Former Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was nearly killed in Arizona on Jan. 8, 2011, in an attack by a deranged gunman joined the effort to reform gun safety. Along with her astronaut husband Mark Kelly [Unlink], they formed their own foundation called Americans for Responsible Solutions to educate the public and call for common sense reforms.
Vice President Biden joins the president in vowing to implement gun restrictions on their own by executive decree if Congress won’t take action.