Unable to get gun control legislation through Congress, the Obama administration announced two new executive actions Thursday – one to “close a loophole,” another to block importation of surplus military weapons.
The announcements come the same day that Vice President Joe Biden – who has spearheaded the administration’s anti-gun efforts since the school massacre in Newtown, Conn. in December — is set to do a ceremonial swearing-in of B. Todd Jones, who was confirmed by the Senate as the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The two new executive actions are on top of 23 previous executive actions announced by President Barack Obama after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.
Under current law, the administration says that machine guns and short barreled shotguns must be registered and an individual must undergo a fingerprint-based background check to purchase the gun.
“At present, when the weapon is registered to a trust or corporation, no background check is run,” a White House news release said Thursday morning. “ATF reports that last year alone, it received more than 39,000 requests for transfers of these restricted firearms to trusts or corporations.”
The ATF is proposing a new regulation to change this. A regulatory rule does not require congressional authorization, but does go through a review process by the agency.
“The proposed rule requires individuals associated with trusts or corporations that acquire these types of weapons to undergo background checks, just as these individuals would if the weapons were registered to them individually,” the White House release said.
The administration also announced a new policy to prevent the importation of surplus military weapons, stating that since 2005, the federal government authorized requests to reimport more than 250,000 such weapons for private purchases.
“When the United States provides military firearms to its allies, either as direct commercial sales or through the foreign military sales or military assistance programs, those firearms may not be imported back into the United States without U.S. government approval, the White House said.
“Today, the Administration is announcing a new policy of denying requests to bring military-grade firearms back into the United States to private entities, with only a few exceptions such as for museums,” the White House announcement said. “This new policy will help keep military-grade firearms off our streets.”