What You Need to Know About Obama’s Executive Action on Gun Control

January 5, 2016   |   Claire Bernish

Claire Bernish
January 5, 2016

(ANTIMEDIA) Washington, D.C. — As promised, President Obama issued a series of New Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence and Make Our Communities Safer,” according to the fact sheet published on the White House website on Tuesday.

In order to address what has become known in many states as the “gun show loophole” — whereby purchasing a firearm from a vendor at a gun show had far less restrictions on background checks, licensing, and waiting periods — the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was ordered to “clarify” several issues and definitions.

Anyone dealing firearms will now be required to obtain a license to do so, regardless of their location. This includes gun show vendors and internet firearms dealers, as well as brick-and-mortar stores. The federal government will be watching such indicators as “quantity and frequency of sales” to catch anyone attempting to skirt the requirement. Typical of government, those guidelines are rather murky. According to Obama:

“There is no specific threshold number of firearms purchased or sold that triggers the licensure requirement. But it is important to note that even a few transactions, when combined with other evidence, can be sufficient to establish that a person is ‘engaged in the business.’ For example, courts have upheld convictions for dealing without a license when as few as two firearms were sold or when only one or two transactions took place, when other factors were also present.

Penalties for those found to be dealing without a license or failing to conduct background checks include up to five years imprisonment and fines up to $250,000.

Another apparent loophole addressed surrounds the employment of trusts, corporations, and “other legal entities” to exploit outdated regulations in the National Firearms Act and avoid background checks in order to obtain “some of the most dangerous weapons, such as machine guns and sawed-off shotguns.” Now, the ATF “is finalizing a rule” that will effectively end such thwarting of background checks.

On that topic, Obama plans to overhaul the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), both by updating the technology and by ensuring pertinent information — such as a history of domestic violence or mental illness — is included in those reports. To reduce the number of people allowed to purchase guns when checks cannot be completed in three days, an additional 230 FBI agents will be hired to handle the voluminous number of requests for background information, and that system will now process checks 24 hours a day, every day of the week.

To further tighten control, an additional 200 ATF agents and investigators will be hired for the incredibly ambiguous duty of “strategic and impactful enforcement” to “take violent criminals off the street [oh, the irony], deter other unlawful activity, and prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands.” This appears to amount to a War Against Guns — which will be fought valiantly by government agents. With guns.

Moving on . . .

An additional $4 million in funding and further upgrades to the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network, as well as the establishment of the Internet Investigations Center to hunt for firearms dealers attempting to bypass the new laws, are all included in these sweeping measures.

To address the issue of mental health in relation to the ability to purchase firearms, the Obama administration “is proposing a new $500 million investment to help engage individuals with serious mental illness in care, improve access to care by increasing service capacity and the behavioral health workforce, and ensure that behavioral health care systems work for everyone. This effort would increase access to mental health services” as a matter of top priority.

Also on the issue of mental health, the Social Security Administration “indicated it will begin the rulemaking process to ensure that appropriate information in its records is reported to NIC,” including information concerning those receiving disability due to a mental health condition — though supposedly there will be an appeal process in the form of a relief mechanism for those who feel they’ve been unfairly prohibited from buying and owning a gun.

Rounding out the sweeping list of new regulatory and administrative so-called improvements, Obama pledged to put the Department of Defense, Department of Justice, and Department of Homeland Security to work on “research into gun safety technology that would reduce the frequency of accidental discharge or unauthorized use of firearms, and improve the tracing of lost or stolen guns.”

The president held a press conference announcing the executive actions, in which he made a curious attempt at humor to sell more laws to an exceedingly polarized public. Obama quipped:

“Contrary to the claims of what some gun rights proponents have suggested, this hasn’t been the first step in some slippery slope to mass confiscation. Contrary to claims of some presidential candidates — apparently before this meeting — this is not a plot to, uh, take away everybody’s guns.”

As many of us are familiar, however, unpopular truths often come packaged in humor.


This article (What You Need to Know About Obama’s Executive Action on Gun Control) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Claire Bernish and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

Author: Claire Bernish

Claire Bernish joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in May of 2015. Her topics of interest include thwarting war propaganda through education, the refugee crisis & related issues, 1st Amendment concerns, ending police brutality, and general government & corporate accountability. Born in North Carolina, she now lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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86 Comments

  1. Any police officer, any sheriff's deputy, any sheriff, any law enforcement officer, any judge, any jury that enforces, attempts to enforce, or aides in assisting the enforcement of these laws is in direct violation of the 2nd amendment to the U.S. Constitution and they are traitors.

    Make no mistake that you are an enemy to the Constitution if you violate your oath by enforcing any gun control legislation against the will of the people. Laws only exist if people choose to enforce them.

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  2. A president that has the guts to stand up to the gun lobby and the average Joe says no give guns to mentally ill people. Oh but the US has such wise citizens

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  3. Oh no…the batshit crazies won't be able to buys their gunz at da gun shows. What a silly idea, tryna keep guns from nutcases. People should be able to buy guns and claim to be responsible owners and we should believe them cuz they is Americans….MURICAAA!!!

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  4. How? The 2nd amendment doesn't say, "Hey, you're born a citizen. Here's a gun." Otherwise, you could walk into any gun shop and buy a canon or anti-aircraft weapon. How is anything he's done "infringing"?

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  5. Jeff Brown Do yo not understand the word infringement (the action of limiting or undermining something).

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  6. How are these defining and enforcing of existing law provisions a violation of the 2nd amendment? Explain that in detail. Site sources. What are your credientials to make such statements? Hopefully you will never be in a position to take such an oath. You obviously don't know what it means.

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  7. Jeff Brown I think it's you who doesn't quite understand. Our forefathers laid out these principal constituional laws to protect ourselves from enemies both foreign and domestic and to stop our government from become too tyranical. It is our right to bear arms, simple as that. What you see now is a president executing executive orders to infringe the 2nd ammendment which wasn't allowed or voted by the people but rather taken into action by the executive branch.

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  8. Edwin De Leon Ok , h many muskets do you own, if you own any other gun in are in the wrong, 200 years ago when it was written people carried muskets , so go ahead and bear those

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  9. Edwin De Leon The executive branch is responsible for enforcing the "law". The budget for enforcing it comes from the congress. Changing laws or amending the constitution is done by the congress. The interpretation of the law is done by the courts. The executive orders in no way changes the content of the law or the constitution. It shows how the executive branch wants the laws enforced. There is nothing in the constitution that says there cannot be rules and regulations to bearing arms. Otherwise, why are we not allowed fully automatic weapons? Bazookas? Land mines? Tanks? Those are "arms". There is no infringement. If you follow the existing laws on the books as interpreted by the courts, are not in violation of laws, then you can still buy a gun or guns. Did not all the stocks in gun manufacturers go up today? Looks like investors are pretty happy with this.

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  10. Kim Hindman By your logic, saying the second amendment only applies to muskets is like saying the first amendment only applies to olde english. o.O

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  11. what are you labeling as "mental illnesss" though? a,n eating disorder is labeled as a "mental illness"

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  12. Kim Hindman By your own argument you would lose freedom of speech on the internet because 200 years ago it didn't exist. The Bill of RIghts has zero time limits and was suppose to be a fluid article to change with the times.

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  13. Jeff Brown The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads:

    "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

    This version was ratified by Congress on On December 15, 1791. Note the comma which separates the two parts of the sentence.

    When this was ratified virtually every man that had a firearm participated in a militia, as there was no centralized military organization uring the revolutionary war under the articles of confederation.

    Very Basic American History

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/1600/constitution

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  14. Jeff Brown The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads:

    "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

    This version was ratified by Congress on On December 15, 1791. Note the comma which separates the two parts of the sentence.

    The focus should be on the second half of the sentence "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

    Any law that could be perceived to encroach on, or restrict this fundamental aspect of self defense is an infringement against the people's right to bear arms.

    When this Amendment was ratified virtually every man that possessed a firearm participated in a militia, as there was no centralized military organization uring the revolutionary war under the articles of confederation. They were fighting a tyrannical government much like the government we have in place today.

    Very Basic American History

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/1600/constitution

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  15. The thing is, The more complicated laws become the easier it is for government to twist them to their own advantage. I agree its good to do background checks but this is 100% without a doubt the first step in mass confiscation. I am not a gun owner. I dislike guns and am a pacifist. However the government will take whatever steps are necessary to change america, that is if we let them. Oh and let me add the part at the end about "Contrary to the claims of what some gun rights proponents have suggested, this hasn’t been the first step in some slippery slope to mass confiscation." he lied that felons can buy guns online without a background check. So why would you believe in someone who isn't fully truthful? Since we found the first lie the rest of what he says cant be trusted. Thats not even the first lie because Obama has on occasion lied about things. Even i know this and havent paid too much attention to everything he says and does. Have women gotten to be paid the same amount as men since he said they would? I don't think they have. Correct me if im wrong.

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  16. Right they can make up whatever they want if they dont want you to have a gun( aka be able to protect yourself)

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  17. Blaine McFarland – lol – the first sentence of your quote defeats you're entire argument. " A well regulated militia ". Of course, citizens must retain the right to bear arms to sustain a militia, but you can't just pick and choose which parts of constitution you think should be followed. So because congress will take zero action to curb gun violence, and Obama does he is some treasonous dictator? I guarantee he's not violsting any laws or over reaching his power. He has an army of lawyers, not to mention the fact he himself is professor of constitutionsl law. I'gonna go out on a limb and guess that you are not. For the record, I don't support more gun laws. A war on guns won't work any better than a war on drugs. The president is frustrated with the inaction of congress, and guess what? He did something. Want to know why? I'm guessing because now, we are forced to have a national conversation about how to make positive changes. Will the changes Obama made make a difference? Probably very little, but it got the ball rolling. The US is the only developed nation in the world that has this problem of almost daily mass shootings, the real answer lies in finding the root cause in our society/culture that causes people to act out in this way. But our nation, and in particular our congress, is in such a deadlock over this issue, we can't even talk about THAT, let alone more gun restrictions. So the president, in my opinion, is forcing the hand. Now we don't have a choice, but to talk about it. He likely doesn't even care if these executive orders are repealed. Pretty smart play if you ask me…..

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  18. Blaine McFarland What part of today's executive orders do more than enforcing and providing for the enforcement of EXISTING law? There is nothing infringing on anything. There is nothing about the legal term "infringed" that keeps it from being regulated and controlled. If it did, how do you explain the insane being forbidden from buying firearms? How do you explain other regulations such as the types of firearms you are allowed to own? Can you walk into Walmart and buy a gatling gun? Hand grenade? Poison tipped bullets? The room storing the guns that Obama has confiscated in 7 years is completely empty. What really bugs you is that you know what he did is perfectly legal and you can't stand it.

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  19. Rodney Campbell What part of today's executive order does anything but enforce existing law? I keep hearing that he just needs to enforce existing laws. Congress doesn't 'need' to write new laws. So today he takes action within the realm of the executive branch law enforcement responsibilities to enforce existing law and y'all go batcrap crazy. He changed no existing law. Want the law interpreted, file a suit and take it to court. They interpret the laws. Or petition the congress to change or write new law, that is what they do. Under the current congress the ATF budget has actually been cut, so don't tell me who doesn't want firearms laws enforced. Congress controls the purse. Congress won't pass legislation because the arms manufacturers and the NRA are huge contributors to politicians. They are popping the champagne corks tonight because the scary black guy talked about guns today and their stocks went up up up and so will gun prices. The ammo makers will keep the supply tight so that the prices goes up up up. Y'all are so gullable it is sad. What is really sad is that the NRA used to be a respectable institution, now it is just a lobby for the manufacturers.

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  20. Steve Christian I have taken U.S.Constitution and multiple Political Science courses in University. I have also served in the military for over 15 years in which I swore to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution.

    I'm well versed in what I speak.

    Meanwhile you speak solely on opinion based on feelings as a result of state sponsored propaganda. o.O

    To each their own i suppose

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  21. Jeff Brown Any statute, policy, resolution, bill, ordinance, or law that could be *perceived* to encroach on, or restrict the citizenry's inherant right to acquire weapons or ammunition is an infringement against the people's right to bear arms.

    I fail to see what is so difficult to comprehend.

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  22. Jeff Brown The federal government will issue guidance that will narrow who can sell guns without a federal license, based on an evaluation of the circumstances surrounding individual gun sales. The idea is to reduce the number of for-profit dealers — as opposed to collectors or people who only give or sell guns to family members or friends — who avoid background checks, whether they're at a store, at a gun show, on the internet, or anywhere else. The Department of Health and Human Services will finalize a rule regarding health record privacy laws to remove barriers to states providing mental health records to the background check system. In addition to these measures, the administration will continue pushing Congress to pass tighter gun control laws, and to direct more funds to enforcing existing gun laws and to mental health treatment.

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  23. Blaine McFarland I, for one, am glad you cannot buy an atomic bomb. By your rendering, you should be able to aquire any armament. You can't. It is already restricted. Has been for many years. The executive action today does not restrict further the types of weapons, nor does it make it impossible for them to be acquired if you qualify. Not everyone can, or should be allowed to have them. I fail to see any legal infringement, but if there is one, it would be decided by the courts as they are the interpreter of the law. Not you and not I.

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  24. Rodney Campbell So you would rather it be legal for anyone to sell any number of guns to anyone without restriction. You are fine with those with a history of violent mental illness such as domesic abuse to not be screened before buying a gun. You are against Congress, as the supposed representatives of the people (and not the munitions companies), making law which is their constitutional duty if that is what the people want. Just to be clear, that is what you just said? Oh, and the executive order allows for family members and one on one deals as long as it is a small amount. I grew up in a house with a gun room. I know guns and keeping them secure. I grew up with hunters and military men. I see no problem with the current executive actions since the Congress refuses to do anything about the gun death issue. 30000 gun deaths a year. Yes some are suicide and some of those suicides are our military and veterans. It has to stop. How many have to die?

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  25. Jeff Brown I believe that individuals should be able defend themselves with any weapon the government has access to.

    Perhaps you should be more alarmed that war-mongering psychopaths have access to nuclear arms than what puny little pea shooters your neighbor has.

    Not to mention the countless drones that your dear learder has deployed against the globe rendering all human life, collateral damage.

    I can see you truly value human rights o.O

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  26. Cops have killed almost 1,000 people in the year 2015. Sounds like they are "cleansing" rather than serving.

    Keep in mind that police are an extension of the executive branch. Meaning that they belong to the dear leader himself. Your messiah King Obama

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  27. Jeff Brown We, the people, will always have the final word.

    laws are just scribbles on paper…….. Saying something is illegal is not an argument, it is an appeal to authority. Laws are arbitrary dictates to control a population, not universal standards of morality.

    All you have to do is look at how police and authority figures treat the subjects they rule over for proof.

    I assume to you #NoLivesMatter

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  28. Kim Hindman…. That was 200 years ago… You just said it. Times have changed. How in the hell could a free people hold their own against a tyrannical government with anything other than what technology the government currently uses? I wish people would actually use some of the brain matter inside their skulls….

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  29. Here's a thought! Take an objective look at the meds these "mentally ill" age on! EVERYONE gets down in the dumps at some point. These multi-billion dollar drug companies will not let their products, which may be causal or correlative to violent acts, to be made publicly known if they have these dangers… Prove me wrong scientifically. Have the research performed by competent and legitimate researchers, and you'll win my favor….. You'll win it as well if my suspicions surface.

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  30. Edwin De Leon If our forefathers had AR-15s the Revolutionary War would have lasted a few months. The "2nd Amendment" was not written to protect the government.

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  31. Edwin De Leon If our forefathers had AR-15s the Revolutionary War would have lasted a few months. The "2nd Amendment" was not written to protect the government.

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  32. South Africa needed gun control because you were murdering all the blacks.

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  33. South Africa needed gun control because you were murdering all the blacks.

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  34. Our forefathers has the premonition from experience to write the "2nd Amendment" for American Citizens to protect themselves. It was not written to protect the government.

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  35. Our forefathers has the premonition from experience to write the "2nd Amendment" for American Citizens to protect themselves. It was not written to protect the government.

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  36. Obama can make all the executive orders and rules he likes. Criminals by their very nature do not follow the law! All Oboozo has done is limit the ability of law abiding citizens to defend themselves and lay the infrastructure down for further infringements into the 2nd amendment and the bill of rights. Obama should now be viewed by all as an enemy to the republic and dealt with accordingly!

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  37. Obama can make all the executive orders and rules he likes. Criminals by their very nature do not follow the law! All Oboozo has done is limit the ability of law abiding citizens to defend themselves and lay the infrastructure down for further infringements into the 2nd amendment and the bill of rights. Obama should now be viewed by all as an enemy to the republic and dealt with accordingly!

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  48. I was a Federal Firearms Dealer for 12yrs and this is not going to affect those that can already walk into a Gun shop and buy one. It has nothing to do with the Second Amendment. If you are spouting all this Bull Shit rhetoric, Then you probaly couldn't pass a background check to make a purchase anyway.

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  49. Jeff Brown, bascally, if you truly believe this is not a violation of constitutional law; try to remember that only congress is authorized (by majority vote) to implement or change laws. Idiot!

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  50. All of you defending this traitorous president, take a nice long drink of that koolaid and hold onto your shorts. The rest (what is left anyway) of your NATURAL BORN RIGHTS are about to go out the door.

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  51. Kim Hindman You are ignorant. We are to be armed with the same weapons the military has so we can fight a tyrannical government…..PERIOD! So tired of hearing the musket thing…..ignorant!

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  52. hmm – you love guns, own it. Be a good guy with a gun, good luck with that, when the goverment comes at you with drones. Bring on an argument that USA put in place, bring it. Please.

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  53. Jeff Brown I guess that you did not read the Federalist Papers, and before you start, YES, THEY EXPLAIN WHAT THE PEOPLE WRITING THE AMENDMENTS HAD IN MIND WHEN THEY WROTE THEM. So, if you say that the founding fathers did not want you to have these weapons I say that you are dead wrong. Now, go back and re-read and educate yourself. Quit being cattle to be told what you should and should not be able to do.

    "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."
    – Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Constitution, Draft 1, 1776
    "I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery."
    – Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, January 30, 1787
    "The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed."
    – Thomas Jefferson, letter to to John Cartwright, 5 June 1824

    We can go on and on. One of the founding fathers said that if there was a factory that produced military arms for a standing army, that there should be another factory exactly like that one producing arms for civilians of the EXACT same kind.

    We have another founding father that said that civilians should have access to ships of the line. That would be the modern day equivalent of a battleship.

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  54. Jeff Brown how about the sad state of affairs on the highways. How many have to die before we stop the madness? That line can be directed at anything you want to send out a heart tug on. Once again, we have freedom, and freedom does at time sting. But to say that we have 30k gun deaths a year is a LARGE stretch on the actual numbers. Including suicides in those statistics is bunk and you know it. If that is that case then why are people who commit suicide in a vehicle thru asphyxiation not listed as a traffic fatality? They used a vehicle to kill themselves. And throwing veterans in there does what to substantiate your claims? That is a failing of the VA system, not a failing of a firearm.

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  55. Jeff Brown SHALL NOT INFRINGE. If you are ran on a background check and you are denied and not prohibited, your RIGHTS HAVE JUST BEEN INFRINGED. It is as simple as that. What do you believe the line "SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED" means?

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  56. Kim Hindman are you using a computer or smart phone to make these commentds? YOU ARE IN THE WRONG! The only thing that was available at that time was a movable type press. This bunk makes me giggle.

    There were SEVERAL semi-automatic weapons available at that time. Do you think that the founding fathers did not understand that technology would evolve? They were fighting wars with swords and spears 200 years before this. Do you think they existed in a vacuum.

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  57. You need to stop with all the guns. Ban them and make them only available as in the UK. No you dumb ass Americans should not automatically have a right to own or carry guns. As a nation, you're obviously not responsible enough to own them. There have been over 1100 gun incidents in 2016. That's like 11 days!!!! http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/

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  58. Jonathan Stump If all of our founding fathers wanted us to have these weapons, why could you only find quotes from one of them (especially the one who seems to be the Thomas Edison of politics, awesome in history books but apparently a jerk in real life)?

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  59. Godwin's Law achievement unlocked!

    Now try using your brain to come up with an actual argument.

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  60. "Criminals by their very nature do not follow the law!"

    Sooo, using that logic there's no point in having any laws at all! Although I suppose by removing all laws you'd instantly drop the rate of crime to zero, thereby creating a country where crime and criminals don't exist! Wouldn't that be awesome?

    Of course criminals break laws, but the point is to make it harder for them to do so, hopefully preventing more serious crime from happening, while creating a framework whereby they can legally and justly be arrested and punished.

    And from what I can tell, he hasn't suggested anything that will impact on 'law abiding citizens' to own a portible death dealing device, so calm the feck down.

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  61. Oh. . .I'm sorry. . . did someone else do this same exact thing that I could have referenced?

    Why do keyboard warriors have to ALWAYS come out with something to say that is degrading or putting someone else down. You couldn't have simply said, "You are using Godwin's Law. Is there another comparison to someone else you could come up with?" But no, you decided to step in and just be a douche bag and be condisending. You don't always have to attack people and be mean just because you have a different thought. Think about that next time you speak and say to yourself, "How old am I? Am I an adult? Can I hold a normal conversation with people without putting them down?" And if you can't, do what mother said, and stop talking.

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  62. Joseph Tavernier “A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.” – George Washington

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  63. You mean like England that has a stabbing every 4 hours? Thugs will kill no matter what. Eiminate the thugs.

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  64. Jeff Brown I understand that people like yourself with some kind of mental problems probably shouldn't own guns

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  65. Kim Hindman For those who say the 2nd amendment refers to muskets since they were the only guns available in 1791, here's a little history. Rifling refers to the grooved twists in a gun barrel that imparts spin to a bullet thus stabilizing it and producing more accuracy. The earliest rifled guns were made in the 15th century which would predate Winchester by quite a bit.
    The Girardoni rifle was 22-shot, magazine-fed, nearly silent .46 caliber repeating rifle adopted in 1780 by the Austrian Army. Thomas Jefferson purchased two of these rifles, which he sent west with Lewis and Clark. So we had rifles back then also

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  66. The government is releasing terrorist, ignoring illegal aliens, & arresting ranchers & sadly most of you see no problem with this.

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