What are Executive Actions?
- Executive actions are proposals or moves by the President, that calls on Congress or the Administration to set policy.
- They can be invalidated by courts or undone by legislation passed by Congress.
- Executive Actions do not carry the legal weight that Executive Orders do as they are not published in the Federal Register.
- They can be considered as a 'wish list' for Presidential actions.
What compelled Obama to make this move?
- In the last 10 years, more than 100,000 people have been killed as a result of gun violence in the US.
- The 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting that killed 20 children and the 2015 Umpqua Community College shooting were turning points in US gun control debates.
- Obama stated the true problem lies in unlicensed gun sales, which would be tackled through these Executive Actions.
Domestic gun violence kills more than war
According to statistics, 15,16,863 Americans have died from domestic gun violence in the United States since 1968, while only 13,96,733 Americans have died in all wars that America has fought throughout history.
What are the highlights of the proposed actions?
- The biggest highlight of Obama's proposal is the enforcement of background checks, making it compulsory for arms sellers to register the customer's background check with authorities for every sale.
- There is also a proposal to increase spending in mental healthcare by $500 million.
- Another key proposal is the directive to the Department of Defence and Homeland Security to sponsor research in gun safety technology.
Who supports Obama's plan of action?
- Democrats across the board have signaled their approval for Obama's proposed actions on gun control.
- Hillary Clinton welcomed Obama's proposals, stating that she was "hopeful and excited" about how it could reduce gun violence in the US.
- Bernie Sanders also voiced his appreciation for Obama's move.
- Democrats also seek a ban on military grade assault rifle sales and unverified sales at gun exhibitions.
Who are the detractors of this proposal?
- Republican Party members are widely opposed to Obama's call for stricter gun control legislation, terming it a subversion of citizens' second amendment rights.
- Donald Trump called the move "ridiculous", citing the growing influence of Islamist extremism as a need for people to arm themselves in "self defence".
- Republican candidates have vowed to repeal all such Executive Actions if voted to office.
What is the Second Amendment?
The Second Amendment to the US Constitution grants citizens the right to bear arms, and was adopted in December, 1791, as part of the first ten amendments in the Bill of Rights.
Obama takes a shot at gun control
- Barack Obama moved to enforce stricter gun control legislation in the United States as he approaches the end of his final tenure as President of the USA.
- The proposed Executive Actions have not gone down well with Congress, however sources say he would at least aim for stricter enforcement of current laws.
- The proposals have been widely criticized by Republican candidates.