The advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety says President Obama could help protect potential gun victims from attackers, especially in cases of domestic abuse, by encouraging five small changes to the way the federal and state governments interpret laws that are already on the books, the New York Times reports. The group says the Justice Department should make clear to law enforcement agencies that federal laws prohibiting gun purchases by anyone convicted of misdemeanor domestic abuse apply in cases where an abuser is not married to the victim. Current law bans gun purchases by those convicted of abuse if the victim is “similarly situated to a spouse,” but those running background checks often do not understand what that means, the group says. White House aides noted that the president had taken 23 executive actions on gun violence after the school shooting in Newtown, Ct., in 2012. They said he was willing to consider other steps as well.
In focusing on firearms dealers, the gun safety organization urges the administration to help states track background checks between unlicensed gun sellers and their buyers. The group says federal law enforcement agencies should notify local and state authorities when someone fails a background check because he or she is a felon or a convicted domestic abuser; the group says local authorities should be alerted when such a person tries — and fails — to buy a gun. The group, which joined with a gun control organization founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and another group formed after the Newtown shootings, claims more than three million supporters. Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton urged gun control actions on the campaign trial in New Hampshire, the Associated Press reports, including stronger background checks on gun buyers and eliminating legal immunity for sellers.