President Barack Obama says he wants gun control to be part of his legacy before he leaves the White House, and he’s planning to bypass Congress to make it a reality. Washington bureau reporter Geoff Bennett filed the following report.
President Barack Obama is back from vacation, and he’s starting his final full year in office by imposing tougher restrictions on guns. The president plans to go it alone to tackle gun violence after being repeatedly rebuffed by Congress.
"We have to do something in this country to address the consequences of Congress' failure to act," said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest during a Monday press briefing. "Look, there are more than 30,000 Americans who die every year as a result of a gun."
The White House outlined the executive actions President Obama will take on gun control. One measure aims to close the so-called "gun show loophole," which currently allows certain gun sellers to skip buyer background checks. Others would fund the hiring of 200 new ATF agents and investigators to help enforce gun laws, while increasing mental health treatment and reporting to the background check system.
On Monday, Obama met with Attorney General Loretta Lynch and others to discuss what steps he could take to help curb gun violence without having to deal with Congress.
"Although we have to be very clear that this is not going to solve every violent crime in this country, it's not going to prevent every mass shooting, it's not going to keep every gun out of the hands of a criminal, it will potentially save lives in this country," Obama said after the meeting.
The White House is keenly aware of polling that shows broad, bipartisan support for tightening background checks. In this presidential election year, the Obama administration is trying draw a contrast with the GOP.
Republican presidential candidates are already vowing to immediately reverse whatever action President Obama takes.
"When I'm elected president, on my first day behind that desk, those orders are gone," said Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio.
"I will veto that. I will un-sign that so fast. So fast," said Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
"It shouldn't surprise us that in the final year of his presidency, President Obama is committed to continuing to abuse his executive power in every way, shape and form," said Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz.
The White House says the president’s actions will be within his executive authority.
The president is expected to announce his plan on Tuesday.