One key action will require more gun sellers to be federally licensed and perform a background check for every attempted purchase. Tens of thousands of dealers already follow these rules, but many others are able to evade them by relying on vague language in the law. While they are a small fraction of all unlicensed sellers, these dealers account for an outsized percentage of guns sold, according to a study by the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety. For obvious reasons, they are also more likely to appeal to criminals and others trying to hide from the authorities.
The law will be clarified to consider not only how many guns these dealers sell, but also how quickly they resell them after purchasing them, whether they sell them in their original packaging and how much they profit.
The president is also taking steps to improve the functioning of the federal background-check database, a critically important tool that has stopped millions of sales of weapons to prohibited people since 1998. Among other things, the F.B.I. will work to notify state and local authorities whenever a prohibited person tries to buy a gun and is rejected. This is a sensible and proven approach to reducing gun crime. In Virginia, follow-up investigations of those denied a gun because of a background check have led to more than 14,000 arrests.
Other presidential actions include delivering a budget proposal with money for 200 new agents and investigators for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to help enforce existing gun laws; requiring dealers to notify authorities when guns are lost or stolen in transit; increasing law enforcement access to mental-health records; and providing funding for research into gun-safety technology.
None of the actions will make a big dent in America’s gun-violence epidemic, but that’s because Mr. Obama can do only so much on his own. Congress could pass far more expansive and effective legislation, such as universal background checks, which have been associated with large declines in gun deaths in the 18 states that have implemented them.
Bloomberg has pumped millions of dollars into gun-control advocacy efforts, including donations to candidates who support more restrictive measures. An organization founded by former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was badly wounded in a 2011 shooting, also has raised millions to promote gun control measures.
“There’s more organization, there’s more capacity, there’s more money,” said Kristin Goss, a public policy professor at Duke University who has studied gun-control advocacy groups. But asked whether the new organizations can succeed in matching the energy and organizational power of the NRA in a general election, Goss said, “That’s an open question.”
Surveys have shown that gun-control supporters lag those who favor fewer restrictions on most measures of political activism. During the failed legislative efforts in 2013, the NRA mobilized its members to flood Capitol Hill with phone calls and letters urging lawmakers to oppose the White House-backed measures.
THAT DOESN’T MEAN THEY HAVE TO LISTEN! Jesus God, I’m sorry for yelling, but the ability to raise money and the ability to make phone calls does not dictate SHIT unless elected officials decide to be scared and stupid and small. Let’s not act like Republicans, or NRA-friendly Democrats for that matter, are helpless victims here. They’re not powerless. They just listen to too many people telling them they are.
They could, at any time, answer Wayne LaPierre’s phone call with a recorded message saying BE FUCKED, and if he tried to call back, they could say something like, “Look, asshole, you may want to pay my bills in this life but someday I will have to answer for what I’ve done to the God whose leg I spend every speech humping, so take your money, fold it four ways, and shove it up Rush Limbaugh’s ass. Get a shot first. I mean, I do care about your well-being.”