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Executive Actions on Gun Laws Planned by President Obama

FILE - Chicago police display some of the thousands of illegal firearms they have confiscated in 2014 in their battle against gun violence in Chicago, July 7, 2014.

1. To keep guns out of the wrong hands through background checks:

  • The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives 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 Lynch has sent a letter to the states highlighting the importance of receiving complete criminal history records and criminal dispositions, information on persons disqualified because of mental illness, and qualifying crimes of domestic violence.
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation is overhauling the background check system to make it more effective and efficient. The 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 the background checks.

2. To make communities safer from gun violence:

  • The attorney general has directed federal prosecutors to continue to focus on smart and effective enforcement of gun laws.
  • The president’s FY2017 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 gun dealers who ship firearms notify law enforcement if their guns are lost or stolen in transit.
  • The attorney general issued a memo encouraging every U.S. attorney’s office to renew domestic violence outreach efforts.

3. To increase mental health treatment and reporting to the background check system:

  • The administration is proposing a new $500 million investment to increase access to mental health care.
  • The Social Security Administration has indicated it will begin the rulemaking process to include information in the background check system about beneficiaries who are prohibited from possessing a firearm for mental health reasons.
  • The Department of 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.

4. To shape the future of gun safety technology:

  • The president has directed the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security to conduct or sponsor research into gun safety technology.
  • The president also has directed the departments to review the availability of smart gun technology on a regular basis, and to explore potential ways to further its use and development to more broadly improve gun safety.