President Obama will embrace a comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence that will call for major legislation to expand background checks for gun purchases and lay out 19 separate actions the president could take by invoking the power of his office, reports the New York Times. Obama may announce as soon as tomorrow his plans to engage in the biggest Congressional fight over guns in nearly two decades, focusing on the heightened background checks and including efforts to ban assault weapons and their high-capacity clips.
Actions the president could take on his own are likely to include imposing new limits on guns imported from overseas, compelling federal agencies to improve sharing of mental health records, and directing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct research on gun violence. Obama can also ratchet up enforcement of existing laws, including tougher prosecution of people who lie on their background checks. Yesterday, Obama said, “My starting point is not to worry about the politics. My starting point is to focus on what makes sense, what works.” The administration's strategy reflects the uncertainty of gun politics and the desire by White House officials to address the Newtown, Ct., shooting while also confronting the broader deficiencies in the criminal justice and mental health systems. Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Tx.) threatened to file articles of impeachment if the president seeks to regulate guns with executive orders.