Center for American Progress

How the President Can Address Illegal Gun Trafficking and Gun Crime

How the President Can Address Illegal Gun Trafficking and Gun Crime

A new CAP issue brief presents ways in which the president can address gun violence without congressional approval.

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The U.S. Senate vote on April 17, 2013, defeated a proposal to expand background checks for gun purchases. It was only the first round in the newly invigorated movement to enact common-sense legislation to reduce gun violence in our country. And while the moderate bipartisan proposal failed to gain the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster, a majority of senators voted in favor of this legislation, which has overwhelming public support in all corners of the country. Efforts are underway to gather more support for this legislation and proponents are hopeful that the measure will ultimately be enacted.

In the meantime, there are a number of actions President Barack Obama can take that do not require approval by Congress. The president began this process in January 2013 by signing 23 executive actions to address gun violence in the United States, including measures to ensure that more records are provided to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, nominating a director for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and directing the Centers for Disease Control to resume research into gun violence. We urge the administration to take additional actions using its existing authority both to improve the federal government’s ability to prevent dangerous individuals from acquiring or possessing guns and to enhance law-enforcement investigations of gun-related crime.

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