Obama Has 19 Executive-Actions Options on Gun Control

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 15 2013 12:27 PM

Obama Could Take Any Number of 19 Possible Executive Actions on Gun Control

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President Barack Obama at his final news conference of his first term at the East Room of the White House on Jan. 14, 2013

Photograph by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

President Obama has 19 possible executive actions he could take to enact gun control reform measures without going through Congress, lawmakers who were briefed on the matter tell the New York Times.

Those unnamed lawmakers, along with White House aides who spoke to the paper, apparently didn't have much in the way of concrete specifics, but they did offer a few educated guesses:

Actions the president could take on his own are likely to include imposing new limits on guns imported from overseas, compelling federal agencies to improve sharing of mental health records and directing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct research on gun violence, according to those briefed on the effort.
White House aides believe Mr. Obama can also ratchet up enforcement of existing laws, including tougher prosecution of people who lie on their background checks.
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Monday marked one month since the Newtown shootings, after which Obama announced the formation of a gun control task force led by Vice President Joe Biden. At a news conference on Monday, the president said he'd address the list of recommendations from that task force in the "next few days."

From his remarks, it's pretty clear that the president doesn't intend to go it alone on gun control reform, which would likely be a limited and politically harmful strategy to take on. "Will all of [the task force's recommendations] get through this Congress?" Obama asked, before answering: "I don’t know. But what’s uppermost in my mind is making sure that I’m honest with the American people and with members of Congress about what I think will work, what I think is something that will make a difference."

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.

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