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Obama and gun control: What actions could he take on his own?

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(Read caption) Facing powerful opposition to sweeping gun regulations, President Barack Obama will unveil his proposals Wednesday, barely over a month since the massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. (Jan. 15)
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At his news conference Monday President Obama said he’s considering using his executive powers to order up some new gun-control measures. What sorts of things could he do on the gun issue on his own?

Well, he won’t be instituting sweeping edicts such as a ban on assault weapons or high-capacity magazines. Those would require congressional legislation, which he’s also vowed to push for. What Mr. Obama can do is issue executive orders based on his constitutional authority or existing statutes. Generally, this sort of executive action deals with government officials or agencies, according to a 2010 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report on the subject.

Executive orders “usually affect private individuals only indirectly,” according to CRS.

How much do you know about the Second Amendment? A quiz. How much do you know about the Second Amendment? A quiz.

Thus one thing Obama might do is tighten the existing background check system meant to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill, according to a list of possible executive actions compiled by the left-leaning Center for American Progress (CAP).


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