WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Two new executive actions announced Thursday morning by the Obama administration will make it harder for Americans to buy short-barreled shotguns, machine guns and surplus military firearms.
The Office of the Press Secretary released the announcement Thursday and said that President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden would remain committed to using every tool available to the executive branch to curb gun violence. According to the release, the executive actions were necessary because of congressional failure to act on gun control proposals, including the expansion of criminal background checks.
The first of the two executive actions will make purchasing "Class III" guns and accessories, such as short-barreled shotguns, a fully automatic machine guns and silencers, much more difficult.
Right now, perspective buyers of such items have to register them and undergo a thorough, fingerprint-based background check of their criminal history. If a trust or a corporation buys the gun in question, though, no background check is conducted.
According to the release, this "loophole" allows people who would normally be prohibited from owning a firearm, such as felons or domestic abusers, to get around the required background check that would prevent their purchase by using a trust or corporation to facilitate the sale.
According to the press release, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms reports that more than 39,000 corporations or trusts submitted requests for the transfer of firearms in that class last year.
The ATF is now proposing a change to their rules that will require every corporation or trust that asks for the transfer of such heavily regulate weapons to go through the same background checks an individual would.
The second executive action will block almost all surplus military weapons from coming back to the United States after they leave their theater of action.
According to the release, allies of the United States who buy or are given guns from this country are not allowed to import them back into America without the governmental approval. With the passage of this executive order, that approval is going to be much harder to get.
The action implements a new administrative policy of deny all requests to put surplus guns in the hands of private entities, with "only a few exceptions, such as for museums."
According to the release, more than 250,000 of these surplus guns have been authorized by the government to be reimported since 2005.
"This new policy will help keep military-grade firearms off our streets," the release said.
The two new executive actions build on a foundation created by 23 executive actions that Biden recommended in January after the president asked him to help curtail gun violence in the wake of the December massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. According to the release, 22 or those 23 executive actions have been completed and implemented or have seen serious progress.