The White House announced Thursday that President Barack Obama will implement a series of new gun control provisions via executive order. The unilaterally imposed gun control measures will limit the import of military surplus weapons and close a loophole that allows members of trusts and corporations access to weapons without a background check.
“Even as Congress fails to act on common-sense proposals, like expanding criminal background checks and making gun trafficking a federal crime, the president and vice president remain committed to using all the tools in their power to make progress toward reducing gun violence,” the White House said in a statement announcing the Presidential actions.
One of the President’s measures does away with a loophole the Administration views as a way for criminals and felons to access guns. Currently, weapons registered to a trust or corporation can be used by all members, regardless of whether each individual has undergone a background check.
“It’s a very artful dodge to get around people who are not capable, Constitutionally or legally, of owning a weapon,” Vice President Joe Biden said of the practice.
According to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reports from last year, there were 39,000 requests for transfers of restricted firearms to trusts or corporations. Obama’s executive order will require individuals associated with trusts or corporations to undergo background checks if they will have access to restricted firearms.
A separate Obama action will disallow private entities to import military surplus firearms that the United States has provided to military allies, either as direct commercial sales or through foreign military sales or military assistance programs, back into the Nation.
Since 2005, the Federal government has authorized requests to reimport more than 250,000 military surplus firearms. But the government’s new policy will be to deny any request to bring military-grade firearms back in the country by private entities, with only a few exceptions such as for museums.
The types of weapons that have most often been re-imported in are over 50 years old and are defined as “curio” or “relic” firearms. The list includes the iconic M1 Garand rifle and several other models that aren’t often used in violent crimes.
The National Rifle Association condemned the White House announcement, saying the initiatives are misguided and will prove ineffective.
“Requiring background checks for corporations and trusts does not keep firearms out of the hands of criminals,” NRA spokesperson Andrew Arulanandam said. “Prohibiting the re-importation of firearms into the U.S. that were manufactured 50 or more years ago does not keep firearms out of the hands of criminals.”
“This administration should get serious about prosecuting violent criminals who misuse guns and stop focusing its efforts on law-abiding gun owners,” he continued.