Obama Could Act Alone to Tighten Up Gun Laws; Executive Orders Would Bypass Congress

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON Facing powerful opposition to sweeping gun regulations, President Barack Obama is weighing 19 steps he could take through executive action alone, congressional officials said. But the scope of such measures is limited.

The steps could include ordering stricter action against people who lie on gun sale background checks; seeking to ensure more complete records in the federal background check database; striking limits on federal research into gun use; ordering tougher penalties against gun trafficking; and giving schools flexibility to use grant money to improve safety.

Obama will announce his proposals today, barely over a month since the massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., thrust the gun issue back into the national spotlight .

The White House said Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will be joined at todays announcement by children who wrote the president letters after the Newtown shooting. Supportive lawmakers and advocacy groups are also expected to attend.

Obama is vowing not to back off his support for sweeping gun legislation that would require congressional backing including banning assault weapons, limiting the capacity of ammunition magazines and instituting universal background checks despite opposition from the influential gun lobby.

Will all of them get through this Congress? I dont know, Obama said at a news conference Monday.

My starting point is not to worry about the politics, he said. My starting point is to focus on what makes sense, what works.

The president said he would offer a comprehensive road map for curbing gun violence. His plan will be based on recommendations from Bidens gun task force and is expected to include both legislative proposals and steps Obama can implement by himself, using his presidential powers.

White House officials believe that moving swiftly on gun proposals at a national level, before the shock over the Newtown shooting fades, gives Obama the best chance to get his proposals through Congress. …