President Obama Brings Gun Control Into 2016 Campaign
On Tuesday, President Obama announced a handful of executive orders relating to firearm sales and background checks aimed (no pun intended) at making good on his promise to bypass congress and act unilaterally on some limited measures. The orders are fairly minimal, though the question of what constitutes a “firearms dealer” has now been made quite murky until the Justice Department clarifies some of changes.
Report from USNews:
President Barack Obama is making good on his pledge to politicize gun violence.
The package of gun-control executive actions Obama will formally announce Tuesday has pushed the contentious issue to the forefront of the 2016 presidential campaign, just weeks from the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses. While Republicans and Democrats are deeply divided on the issue, both parties see Obama’s actions as an opportunity to generate enthusiasm among primary voters.
For now, Obama’s gun actions are a central topic as candidates crisscross Iowa, New Hampshire and other early voting states.
GOP contenders promise that if they get elected, they’ll swiftly repeal Obama’s actions, which include steps to expand background checks for gun purchases. GOP front-runner Donald Trump vowed to “un-sign” the president’s measures. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said that on his first day in the Oval Office, “those orders are gone.” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said that while Obama may currently hold the power of the pen, “my pen has got an eraser.”
On the Democratic side, front-runner Hillary Clinton has unveiled her own proposals for gun-control executive actions and enthusiastically endorsed Obama’s measures even before the president’s official announcement.
“I know that a Republican president would delight in the very first day, reversing executive orders that President Obama has made,” Clinton told voters in New Hampshire.
The cornerstone of Obama’s executive actions is a background check requirement for guns purchased from dealers even if they’re bought online or at gun shows. The new federal guidance aims to narrow the so-called gun show loophole that allows some purchases to occur without a background check.
In announcing the actions in the early days of 2016, Obama is purposely thrusting the issue into the center of the presidential campaign. As he foreshadowed his executive orders last fall, Obama said addressing gun violence is “something we should politicize.”
The reactions split on partisan lines with Republicans vowing to repeal these changes and Democrats applauding the move as a small first step.