It has become a well-worn and familiar cycle– the Obama administration carefully trial ballooning possible actions through the media so as to ascertain the reaction the press and public will have on any potential moves, gather additional ideas from the feedback loop of media member speculation, and plan the release of details at some point determined to have maximum political advantage.
Gun Control has become the new cause célèbre, unsurprisingly, considering the recent tragedy in San Bernardino and the attempts on both sides of the aisle to make maximum political hay. Administration proxies have been leaking to the media since just before President Obama’s winter vacation that Executive Action was forthcoming, echoing similar indications made in February 2014 that never materialized.
Like his actions and trial ballooning on Immigration Reform, Obama seeks to make progress on an issue that is near and dear to his constituency despite the inertia of congress. This despite there has been no evolution in thought on the side of anti-gun policy makers, and no suggested changes in law or policy could have been effective in stopping any of the most recent high-profile gun crimes.
The expected action, certain to be announced either during or immediately after the upcoming State of the Union address, will close the so-called “Gun Show Loophole”. Under current law, only gun sales made by a narrowly defined person considered “in the business of selling firearms” must run a background check on a prospective buyer. This leaves out the estimated 40 percent of gun purchases that are otherwise considered “private transactions” including famously most of those that take place at gun shows.
While the NRA is certain to fight any attempts to change current gun law, it is expected that they may sandbag the effort if Obama sticks to only closing the loophole. As it turns out gun manufacturers are not married to the loophole and federally licensed sellers do not much care for their “amateur” competitors.
It is worth noting, also, that a 40 percent increase in the number of background checks performed will inundate an already beleaguered system. Charleston, SC, shooter Dylann Roof was able to purchase the handgun he used after the existing system failed to identify his pending criminal charges in the mandated five days.
[Washington Post] [Reuters] [Roll Call] [LA Times] [New York Times] [Bloomberg]