Obama to discuss gun violence with attorney general

US president set to put in place gun control measures through executive action

Barack Obama: “We know that we can’t stop every act of violence. But what if we tried to stop even one?” Photograph: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Barack Obama: “We know that we can’t stop every act of violence. But what if we tried to stop even one?” Photograph: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

 

President Barack Obama said today he would meet with the US attorney general to discuss ways of reducing gun violence in the United States amid reports he intends to take executive action on the issue.

Mr Obama, in his weekly recorded address, said he has received “too many letters from parents, and teachers, and kids, to sit around and do nothing”.

He has repeatedly urged Congress to tighten gun laws, with his calls growing louder following the 2012 massacre at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, and again this autumn after mass shootings in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and San Bernardino, California.

“A few months ago, I directed my team at the White House to look into any new actions I can take to help reduce gun violence,” Mr Obama said in the address. “And on Monday, I’ll meet with our attorney general, Loretta Lynch, to discuss our options.”

The Washington Post, citing several individuals briefed on the matter, said Mr Obama and Ms Lynch would “finalise a set of executive actions on guns that he will unveil next week”.

Frustrated with little action from Congress, Mr Obama has vowed to use “whatever power this office holds” to put in place gun control measures through executive action, which does not require congressional approval.

“We know that we can’t stop every act of violence,” he said. “But what if we tried to stop even one? What if Congress did something – anything – to protect our kids from gun violence?”

The Post said Obama would use his executive authority in several areas, including expanding new background-check requirements for buyers who purchase weapons from high-volume dealers.

“Change, as always, is going to take all of us,” said Mr Obama, who is on vacation with his family in Hawaii. “The gun lobby is loud and well organised in its defense of effortlessly available guns for anyone. The rest of us are going to have to be just as passionate and well organised in our defense of our kids.”

Yesterday, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Mr Obama was aware Congress was unlikely to act on gun reform.

“That is why he has asked his team to scrub existing legal authorities to see if there’s any additional action we can take administratively,” Schultz said. “The president has made clear he’s not satisfied with where we are and expects that work to be completed soon.” – (Reuters)