Attorney General Loretta Lynch defended President Obama's executive actions on gun control and asked Congress to fund the staff necessary to uphold the law, the Washington Post reports. Lynch argued Obama's proposals clarify existing laws rather than create new ones. Speaking to the Senate subcommittee that funds the Justice Department, she responded to Republican criticism that the actions would do little to stop those who obtained guns in recent high-profile killings. She said the Obama actions are incremental steps to make it harder for criminals to get guns and they stop far short of infringing on the constitutional rights of gun owners. Lynch said the new Obama budget will include $80 million to hire more FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives employees to conduct background checks, expand mental health services, investigate gun crimes and track lost and stolen guns.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) vows to repeal the executive orders if elected president and congressional Republicans are threatening not to fund Obama's request for additional funding. Lynch testified the additional funds are necessary to conduct the rising number of background checks by legal gun sellers and purchasers. The White House executive actions include Department of Justice plans to hire 200 new FBI agents and investigators to track firearms and investigate crimes. The ATF also plans to hire 230 new employees to expand the existing background check network. The ATF is able to staff the National Criminal Background Check system for 17 hours a day; Lynch said the goal is to expand the services to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Lynch said the Justice Department plans to start hiring some FBI agents soon using existing funds.