Prez pushing for expanded background checks – Boston Herald
President Obama is poised to take executive action to tighten background checks for gun buyers even as terror attacks here and abroad have rattled Americans and tamped down support for stricter regulations.
“I think this is more to do with both Obama appealing to the Democratic base and trying to bait Republicans into saying something intemperate in response,” former Granite State GOP Chairman Fergus Cullen told the Herald. “Anytime he’s using executive orders, it’s an invitation to Republicans to condemn him for going around Congress and overstepping his authority as president.”
Obama will meet with Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch Monday to discuss his options to reduce gun violence, saying in his weekly radio message that he gets “too many letters from parents, and teachers, and kids, to sit around and do nothing.”
One of the expected proposals is expanding background checks for people who buy weapons through gun shows and online sales — settings in many states where background checks are not required.
Obama’s expected action to tighten gun regulations, however, comes as the American public has been battered with reports of terrorist attacks and mass shootings. According to a Washington Post/ABC poll, 47 percent say having more people carrying guns legally is a better way to combat terrorism, compared with 42 percent who favor gun control.
Former Alabama GOP Chairman Marty Connors said Obama’s decision to move forward despite the apparent shift in public opinion is a sign the president is “out of touch with regular Americans.”
“I talk to real people, and they know background checks look good on paper but they don’t work,” Connors said. “The killers in San Bernardino got their guns from a friend who was completely clean.”
Cullen said he expects Obama’s move will prompt both parties to “play to their bases.”
“What you’ll probably see is a fairly muted response from people like Hillary Clinton, signaling a general support for what he’s trying to do,” Cullen said. “And strong opposition from Republicans as they try to play to their base, too … This is the classic ‘it’s all politics’ and not about substance.”
Expanded background checks were popular in 2013, when Obama introduced gun control legislation after the mass shooting of 20 school children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. But that bill died in the Senate.
Yet other recent polls suggest support for Obama’s anticipated move. Some 89 percent of voters support background checks on guns purchased at shows and online, with 84 percent of voters in gun-owning households backing the measure, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released last week.
“You could drive a tank through the loophole that allows private gun dealers to sell guns without a background check,” said Joseph Rosenthal, founder of the Newton-based Stop Handgun Violence. “The president has nothing to lose and everything to gain in lives saved.”