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Obama gun control initiative: 5 things to know

Published: Monday, January 04, 2016 @ 8:58 PM
Updated: Monday, January 04, 2016 @ 8:58 PM


            Those spikes in firearms sales nationally have previously followed discussion of tougher firearms control,
Those spikes in firearms sales nationally have previously followed discussion of tougher firearms control,

Here are five things you should know regarding President Obama’s gun control initiatives — to be delivered via several executive orders. Some details about his plans were released from the White House on Monday evening:

Background checks for firearms will be enhanced

* The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is making clear that it doesn’t matter whether firearms are sold from a store, at a gun show or on the Internet: The seller must get a license and conduct background checks.

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* ATF is finalizing a rule to require background checks for people trying to buy some of the most dangerous weapons and other items through a trust, corporation, or other legal entity.

* Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch has sent a letter to states highlighting the importance of receiving complete criminal history records and criminal dispositions, information on persons disqualified because of a mental illness, and qualifying crimes of domestic violence.

* The FBI is overhauling the background check system. Envisioned improvements include processing background checks 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and improving notification of local authorities when certain prohibited persons unlawfully attempt to buy a gun. The FBI will hire more than 230 additional examiners and other staff to help process these background checks.

More funding will be earmarked for ATF

* The president’s fiscal year 2017 budget will include funding for 200 new ATF agents and investigators to help enforce gun laws.

* ATF has established an Internet Investigation Center to track illegal online firearms trafficking and is dedicating $4 million and additional personnel to enhance the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network.

* ATF is finalizing a rule to ensure that dealers who ship firearms notify law enforcement if their guns are lost or stolen in transit.

* Attorney General Lynch is encouraging every U.S. Attorney’s Office to renew domestic violence outreach efforts.

The background check system will include increased mental health treatment, reporting

* The administration is proposing a new $500 million investment to increase access to mental health care.

* The Social Security Administration has indicated that it will begin the rulemaking process to include information in the background check system about beneficiaries prohibited from possessing a firearm for mental health reasons.

* Health and Human Services is finalizing a rule to remove unnecessary legal barriers preventing states from reporting relevant information about people prohibited from possessing a gun for specific mental health reasons.

More attention will be placed on gun safety technology

* President Obama has directed the departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security to conduct or sponsor research into gun safety technology.

* The departments have been directed by the president to review, on a regular basis, the availability of smart gun technology and to explore potential ways to further its use and development to more broadly improve gun safety.

The president is expected to release more details about his gun control initiative on Tuesday.