Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: CAP President Neera Tanden on Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence
Press Statement

STATEMENT: CAP President Neera Tanden on Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence

Washington, D.C. — Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden issued the following statement today after the announcement that President Barack Obama will take executive actions to reduce gun violence and strengthen gun laws nationwide.

There was at least one mass shooting in America for every day last year. Thousands of Americans were victims of gun violence, yet Congress has done nothing to break the grip of the gun lobby and enact commonsense gun laws that have the support of more than 90 percent of Americans. The slate of actions announced by President Obama will have a substantial impact on improving enforcement of existing gun laws, expanding background checks to include more high-volume sellers of guns, improving the operation and effectiveness of the background check system, and encouraging innovation and development of smart gun technology. These actions are rooted in firm legal and constitutional authority, and though they will not prevent every act of violence, they will go a long way toward making all communities safer from gun violence. These actions do not relieve Congress of the obligation to act to close the dangerous gaps in the nation’s gun laws that allow individuals prohibited from gun possession to have easy access to guns, but they are a meaningful step forward on this issue.

One of the actions the president announced is new guidance clarifying which individuals are considered to be engaged in the business of dealing in firearms and therefore required to obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF, and conduct background checks for all gun sales. In October, CAP released an issue brief on strengthening background checks for high-volume gun sellers that called for clarification to these regulations. The president also announced an increased focus on prioritizing cases involving domestic violence, reminding state leaders of their obligation to provide records to the background check system, improving notifications to local law enforcement about background check denials, and investigating illegal gun trafficking that occurs online, all of which were among the recommendations CAP made in a 2013 report offering additional ideas for executive action to address gun violence.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at [email protected] or 202.481.7141.