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Back From Hawaiian Vacation, Obama to Focus on Gun Control


U.S. President Barack Obama waves as he walks with first lady Michelle Obama (R) and their daughters Malia (L) and Sasha on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington January 3, 2016. The Obama family returned from Hawaii, the president's home state, after concluding a 15-day holiday vacation.

U.S. President Barack Obama returned to Washington Sunday from his holiday vacation, looking immediately to impose new controls on gun sales.

Obama, his wife Michelle and their two daughters departed the U.S. Pacific state of Hawaii late Saturday night after their annual two-week Christmas vacation in the president's birth state.

Obama is entering the last year of his presidency, set to leave office in January 2017 after eight years in the White House.

He plans to meet with Attorney General Loretta Lynch Monday to discuss an impending executive order aimed at expanding background checks on gun sales, which he is taking in response to a series of deadly mass shootings across the United States in recent years, including last month's massacre in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14 people.

He is a planning a televised town hall discussion of his gun control mandates on CNN on Thursday, just days before he delivers his final State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on January 12.

"I am fired up for the year that stretches out before us," Obama said in his weekly radio address last week.

Like his predecessors, Obama is expected to devote a great deal of the final year of his presidency to foreign affairs.The top items on his agenda include securing congressional passage of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, and a possible trip to Cuba.

Obama achieved a diplomatic breakthrough last year by restoring formal relations with the communist-led Caribbean island, ending more than five decades of Cold War-era hostilities.