Obama's gun control measures to spark political, legal fights

Obama to Use Executive Action on Gun Control
President Barack Obama is igniting a political firestorm this week by bypassing Congress with new measures to tighten U.S. gun rules that are likely to redefine what it means to be a gun dealer and possibly spark legal challenges during his final year in office.

Shares in gun makers Smith & Wesson Holding Corp and Sturm Ruger & Co Inc rose against a falling stock market on Monday in anticipation of increased gun sales, as has happened before when the White House mulled weapon sales reform.

SEE ALSO: Ammon Bundy, leader of armed Oregon standoff: 'We are not threatening anybody'

Obama was due to meet Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Monday afternoon to discuss his options.

Stymied by Congress' inaction on gun control, the president asked his advisers in recent months to examine new ways he could use his executive authority to tighten gun rules unilaterally without needing congressional approval after multiple mass shootings generated outrage nationwide.

One option was a regulatory change to require more dealers to get a license to sell guns, a move that would trigger more background checks on buyers.

President Obama reacts to gun violence in the United States:
3 PHOTOS
Obama addressing the nation on U.S. shootings & gun control during his presidency
See Gallery
Obama's gun control measures to spark political, legal fights
US President Barack Obama gets emotional as he delivers a statement on executive actions to reduce gun violence on January 5, 2016 at the White House in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama delivers a statement on executive actions to reduce gun violence on January 5, 2016 at the White House in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE


The White House had drafted a proposal on that issue previously but was concerned it could be challenged in court and would be hard to enforce.

Guns are a potent issue in U.S. politics. The right to bear arms is protected by the U.S. Constitution, and the National Rifle Association, the top U.S. gun rights group, is feared and respected in Washington for its ability to mobilize gun owners. Congress has not approved major gun-control legislation since the 1990s.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday that the administration was prepared for legal challenges and had confidence that Obama's new proposals were legally sound.

"A lot of the work that has gone on has been to ensure that we would have confidence in the legal basis of these actions," he said, adding that the proposals would be "within the legal ability of the president of the United States to carry out."
The president's planned use of executive action launches his final year with a move that Republicans say exemplifies misuse of his powers. Congress, which is controlled by Republicans, rejected Obama's proposals for legislation to tighten gun rules in 2013.

"While we don't yet know the details of the plan, the president is at minimum subverting the legislative branch, and potentially overturning its will," Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan said in a statement.

"This is a dangerous level of executive overreach, and the country will not stand for it."

U.S. states have taken their own approaches to addressing gun violence. Texas legalized openly carrying handguns, while New York and Connecticut have banned high-capacity magazines.

In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the rights of individual Americans to keep and bear arms. But the court also recognized that laws imposing conditions on commercial guns sale can be consistent with the Second Amendment.'

More on gun control:
Why Obama Is Acting Alone On Gun Control

More on AOL.com:
First-of-a-kind drug approvals continued rise in 2015
Saudi Arabia to halt flights, trade with Iran: Minister
Florida says it has backlog of 13,000-plus rape test kits
Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.