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Executive Action on Guns: "A Move in the Right Direction"

An executive action would expand mandatory background checks for firearm sales. (Michael Saechang/Flickr)
An executive action would expand mandatory background checks for firearm sales. (Michael Saechang/Flickr)
January 6, 2016

LANSING, Mich. - Michiganders working to end gun violence are commending President Obama for taking steps to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. The president on Tuesday announced several executive actions on guns in response to a series of mass shootings in recent years.

Linda Brundage, executive director of the Michigan Coalition Against Gun Violence, said one measure would expand mandatory background checks for some private gun sellers, including those online and at gun shows.

"There are people who do do the selling of guns without a license," she said, "and this will tighten up that procedure so that fewer felons, domestic abusers and mentally ill have access to guns."

Other measures include expanding the role of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and making a $500 million investment to improve access to mental-health care. Opponents are promising to fight them, although the president said he's confident the actions will withstand any legal challenges. Obama also was criticized for bypassing Congress, but Brundage said past attempts at gun-control reform have failed despite public opinion.

"It's not a panacea. There isn't a panacea," she said. "But just because we cannot do everything doesn't mean we should do nothing. This is definitely a move in the right direction."

Brundage said polling shows 90 percent of Americans want all background checks on all guns sales. According to new FBI data, gun sales in 2015 were the highest recorded, with background checks on gun purchases and permits up 10 percent.

Video of the president's full announcement is online at whitehouse.gov/blog.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - MI