The White House is talking with governors and other state and local officials as part of a bottom-up strategy to better enforce gun laws at both the state and local level, reports USA Today White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Vice President Biden has been leading the talks, which are focused on “steps they can take to try to reduce gun violence in their communities.” The state-and-local approach to guns is another example of a strategy that’s been a unique part of the “fourth quarter” of the Obama presidency. Unable to get his policies through Congress, he’s increasingly using aggressive outreach to states and cities to raise the minimum wage, require paid time off, expand preschool programs and offer more affordable college options.
“I think what people are realizing, and I have realized as governor, is that we have a tremendous number of tools at our disposal to take action,” said Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat who signed a order on guns in October. It required gun tracing for all guns used in crimes, started a gun crime tip line and banned guns in state office buildings. Republicans in the legislature called those actions “shortsighted,” and threatened to repeal them in the next legislative session. Today, the Center for American Progress, a liberal advocacy group, will outline 28 things governors and other state and local executives can do to better enforce gun laws already on the books. Recommendations include investigations into all failed background checks, increased use of gun tracing by state police and state-funded research into the causes of gun violence. Governors and mayors could also require background checks at gun shows held on state or city property, and use their purchasing power to require gun manufacturers to prove they’re selling guns responsibly.