Tears streaking his cheeks, President Barack Obama launched a final-year push yesterday to tighten sales of firearms in the US, using his presidential powers in the absence of tougher gun restrictions that Congress has refused to pass.
The president struck a combative tone as he came out with plans for expanded background checks and other modest measures that have drawn consternation from gun rights groups, which Obama accused of making Congress their hostage.
Palpable, too, was Obama’s extreme frustration at having made such little progress on gun control since the slaughter of 20 first-graders in Connecticut confronted the nation more than three years ago.
“First-graders,” Obama said woefully, resting his chin on his hand and wiping away tears as he recalled the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad.”
Obama’s 10-point plan to keep guns from those who shouldn’t have them marked a concession by the president: He’ll leave office without securing the new gun control laws he’s repeatedly and desperately implored Congress to pass.
The centrepiece of Obama’s plan is an attempt to narrow the loophole that exempts gun sales from background checks if the seller isn’t a federal registered dealer.
With new federal “guidance,” the administration is clarifying that even those who sell just a few weapons at gun shows, flea markets or online can be deemed dealers and required to conduct checks on prospective buyers.
Other new steps include 230 new examiners the FBI will hire to process background checks.
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