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President moves to strengthen gun control

Posted at 5:59 PM, Jan 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-05 06:54:36-05

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - President Obama says if Congress won't pass a law to tighten gun controls, he'll do it by Presidential order.

The President met with Attorney General Loretta Lynch Monday to discuss what he can legally do.

After the meeting the President said, “The good news is these are not only recommendations that are well within my legal authority and the executive branch but they're also ones that the overwhelming majority of the American people including gun owners support and believe in."

President Obama has called for Congress to require more gun sellers to do background checks on gun buyers but Congress shows no inclination to do that. So Obama says he'll tighten some gun rules based on his authority as President and critics of the plan questions whether he really has that authority.

Many sellers at gun shows are classed as individuals, not gun dealers, so they're not required to background check the buyers in a person to person sale.

But under the President's order the government can consider someone a gun dealer who must do background checks regardless of where the guns are sold. That would include gun shows and on-line sales.

The FBI will add 230 new background check specialists and upgrade criminal history and ballistics databases.

The President's order also calls for 200 new Federal firearms agents in the coming Federal budget, and adding 500 million dollars for improved mental health care.

Prosecutors say a gun show gun was the murder weapon in one of Tucson's most notorious crimes---The Pizza Hut killings in 1999 when Tom Prastertphong and Bo Huerstel robbed and killed three workers.

Prasertphong said he got the gun at a gun show.

County Attorney Barbara Lawall says her office prosecutes hundreds of newer cases of felons not allowed to have guns who got them anyway. She doubts they were all back alley deals. She thinks it's reasonable to require a background check that could keep guns away from criminals.

"You're required to have a driver’s license when you drive a car. You're required to register your car and to license it and when you transfer and sell your car you're required to let the government know that you have sold that car to somebody else."

Comments on KGUN9's Facebook were mixed, but a majority opposed a Presidential order to tighten gun purchases.

Skip wrote: "You meant, 'Today, President Obama is expected to finalize a set of new executive actions endangering Americans and stripping more of the nation's self-protection laws.'"

Michael said, "This is LONG OVERDUE!!

Tommy said, "They want to track all the guns in this country on law abiding citizens so they can take the focus off of terrorism. Smoke and mirrors."

Jefferson wrote: "And who's going to enforce this? What a joke ."

Paul said "Good first step. Hope this is just the tip of the iceberg. Time to ban assault weapons."

Mike N Dominique posted: "Close the executive order loophole."