U.S. President Barack Obama is poised to unveil a new round of unilateral actions to tighten controls on American gun sales. He’ll speak to the public about it on Tuesday morning.
His proposals range from making more purchases subject to background checks to hiring more examiners, to improving the background check database, making the checks more “efficient, effective and faster,” according to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.
The administration is largely making the changes by issuing new guidance for enforcing existing laws.
Obama is seeking to make more gun sellers register with the U.S. government, even those who only do one or two sales. The new guidance will also make sales by U.S. trusts or corporations eligible for background checks.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the use of this loophole to purchase weapons has bloomed from 900 applications in 2000, to 90,000 in 2014.
“Collectors and hobbyists are the only exception (to background checks),” Lynch said. “The guidance talks about how narrow that is. It gives us ability to say: You have to register, and if not there are consequences.”
Under the proposal, The FBI will also hire 230 more examiners, an increase of 50 percent to help process background checks. By law, if a background check takes more than three days to process, the gun purchase can be completed. Obama wants to close that loophole.
Obama will also ask the U.S. Congress to approve $500 million for mental health care nationwide and funds to hire an additional 200 new agents at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms which oversees the regulations on gun sales.
The announcement comes three years after a mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school took the lives of 20 school children and six adult staff members. After the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, Obama signed 23 executive orders to tighten restrictions on American gun sales.
But his efforts to pass legislation in 2013 to pass universal background checks for gun sales and reinstate the assault weapons ban both stalled in the U.S. Congress. This time, he’s approaching Congress with a much smaller ask.
The bottom line for the administration? No one can say they didn’t know.
“If selling guns is part of your world this guidance is part of your world,” Lynch said.