Quantcast

Obama proposes firearm background check changes

Published January 3, 2014 4:39 pm

Regulation • The president calling on Congress to act on gun control.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Honolulu • The Obama administration on Friday announced a pair of executive actions aimed at strengthening federal background checks for gun purchasers, with a particular focus on limiting firearm access for those with mental health issues.

One proposed rule change aims to clarify terminology used by federal law to prohibit people from purchasing a firearm for mental health reasons. The administration said states have complained that some wording is ambiguous, making it difficult to determine who should be blocked from buying a weapon.

The change also will help states determine what information may be shared with the federal background check system for firearms transfers. The system has prevented more than 2 million guns from falling into the wrong hands, the Justice Department says.

A second proposed rule change would give hospitals and other entities covered by patient privacy provisions more flexibility in the information they provide to the background check system. However, the administration said the rule change would not require reporting on general mental health care or legally prohibit someone from having a firearm solely because they sought treatment.

The White House announced the proposals while President Barack Obama was vacationing in Hawaii.

Obama put forward sweeping gun control measures last year following the horrific elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn. But the toughest proposals, including stricter background checks, fell flat on Capitol Hill, forcing the White House to rely on piecemeal measures that can be implemented without congressional approval.

Several perpetrators of the nation's worst mass shootings have had mental health issues, including Newtown shooter Adam Lanza. However, they acquired their guns in different ways, with Lanza using firearms purchased by his mother when he went on a rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary.

In announcing the proposed rule changes, the White House also called on Congress to again tackle gun control issues this year. However, there's little indication that lawmakers plan to take up the issue.

"Today, we are taking steps to further strengthen the federal background check system. It's time Congress joins us in this effort," Vice President Joe Biden wrote on Twitter. Biden has headed up the White House's anti-gun violence efforts following the Newtown shooting.

Friday's rule changes were proposed by the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services. The agencies must accept and analyze public comments before issuing final rules.

 

 


USER COMMENTS
Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
comments powered by Disqus