The President’s current wish list for gun control

President Obama held a press conference to give details about his pending Executive Actions for gun control. Executive Actions in and of themselves are not legally binding. They are generally regarded as a "Wish List".

The Four Executive Actions Obama outlined:

1. Keep guns out of the wrong hands through background checks.

  • The ATF will expand the definition of who is a firearms dealer, regardless of where the firearms transaction takes place or how many transactions are completed.

There is no specific threshold number of firearms purchased or sold that triggers the licensure requirement. But it is important to note that even a few transactions, when combined with other evidence, can be sufficient to establish that a person is "engaged in the business."

This will increase the number of NICS background checks because a background check is required for any firearms transaction between a firearms dealer and the buyer. Taken to the extreme, all firearms transactions public or private will require a background check.

  • Change the requirements for background checks regarding NFA trusts.

The National Firearms Act imposes restrictions on sales of some of the most dangerous weapons, such as machine guns and sawed-off shotguns. But because of outdated regulations, individuals have been able to avoid the background check requirement by applying to acquire these firearms and other items through trusts, corporations, and other legal entities.

Many gun owners create trusts to place NFA items in for many reasons. Now, the owner(s) of the trust will have to be fingerprinted and photographed.

  • Require States to release more information of their citizens to NICS.

…the Attorney General has written a letter to States highlighting the importance of receiving complete criminal history records and criminal dispositions, information on persons disqualified for mental health reasons, and qualifying crimes of domestic violence.

  • Improve the NICS System

FBI will hire more than 230 additional NICS examiners and other staff members to assist with processing mandatory background checks.

FBI has partnered with the U.S. Digital Service (USDS) to modernize NICS. Although NICS has been routinely upgraded since its launch in 1998, the FBI is committed to making the system more efficient and effective, so that as many background checks as possible are fully processed within the three-day period before a dealer can legally sell a gun even if a background check is not complete.

2. Make our communities safer from gun violence.

  • Increase the efficiency of enforcement of gun laws

The President’s budget for FY2017 will include funding for 200 new ATF agents and investigators who can help enforce our gun laws, including the measures announced today.

ATF is dedicating $4 million and additional personnel to enhance the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN).

ATF has established an Internet Investigations Center (IIC) staffed with federal agents, legal counsel, and investigators to track illegal online firearms trafficking and to provide actionable intelligence to agents in the field.


  • Require dealers to report the loss or theft of firearms

Under current law, federal firearms dealers and other licensees must report when a gun from their inventory has been lost or stolen. The regulations are ambiguous, however, about who has this responsibility when a gun is lost or stolen in transit.

  • Require US District Attorneys to renew domestic violence outreach

…the Attorney General is issuing a memo directing U.S. Attorney’s Offices around the country to engage in renewed efforts to coordinate with these groups to help combat domestic violence and to prevent prohibited persons from obtaining firearms.

3. Increase mental health treatment and reporting to the background check system.

  • Increase access to mental health resources

…the Administration is proposing a new $500 million investment to help engage individuals with serious mental illness in care, improve access to care by increasing service capacity and the behavioral health workforce, and ensure that behavioral health care systems work for everyone.

  • Access Social Security Administration information regarding beneficiaries who are prohibited from possessing a firearm through NICS

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has indicated that it will begin the rulemaking process to ensure that appropriate information in its records is reported to NICS.

The rulemaking will also provide a mechanism for people to seek relief from the federal prohibition on possessing a firearm for reasons related to mental health.

  • Require States to release mental health information to NICS

Some State officials raised concerns about whether such reporting would be precluded by the Privacy Rule issued under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Today, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule expressly permitting certain HIPAA covered entities to provide to the NICS limited demographic and other necessary information about these individuals.

4. Shape the future of gun safety technology.

  • Require the Department of Defense, Department of Justice, and Department of Homeland Security to promote Smart Gun Technology


Increase research and development efforts.

Promote the use and acquisition of new technology.

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