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Obama Admin Proposes Gun Background Check Changes

Gun owners complete paperwork at the State of Connecticut Department of Public Safety office in Middletown, Dec. 30, 2013.
The Obama administration has announced two new executive actions aimed at strengthening federal background checks for gun purchasers.

One of the proposed rule changes aims to clarify who is prohibited from purchasing a gun for mental health reasons, while the other would make it easier to add mental health information to the background check system.

Friday's announcement comes as President Barack Obama is vacationing with his family in Hawaii. A Justice Department statement quotes Attorney General Eric Holder as saying the clarification of the nation's firearms regulations will strengthen officials' "ability to keep dangerous weapons out of the wrong hands."

Obama proposed sweeping new gun control measures last year after a 20-year-old shooter killed 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012. But most of the measures failed to gain Congressional approval.

The Newtown tragedy prompted several states, including Connecticut, Colorado and Maryland, to enact their own gun control laws.