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Obama to expand background checks on gun sales: Report

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Barack Obama: “My biggest frustration so far is the fact that this society has not been willing to take some basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who can do just unbelievable damage.”

US President Barack Obama is expected to announce executive actions on guns as early as next week after he returns from Hawaii, according to a report.

The changes would include requiring more small-scale gun sellers to be licensed and expanding background checks on gun sales, Politico reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with proposals. Other measures would require citizens to report guns that are lost or stolen.

The Obama administration has been finalizing new measures for weeks in response to a series of recent mass shootings, such as killings in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and San Bernardino, California.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz called the actions a necessary move because the Republican-controlled Congress has snubbed previous efforts of the administration to tighten gun laws.

“The president has made clear he's not satisfied with where we are, and expects that work to be completed soon,” he said.

Each year, more than 32,000 people die as a consequence of gun-related violence, suicides, and accidents in the United States, which is by far the highest among industrialized countries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Weak gun laws that allow for some criminals to possess firearms legally are contributing to the high rate of gun violence in the US, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Since December 2012 - when twenty children and six adults were fatally shot by a gunman at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut - President Obama has pushed for gun law reforms, including expanded background checks and a ban on high-capacity magazines.

But, the powerful gun lobby and its supporters in Congress have blocked the proposed measures.

Obama has said that the greatest frustration of his time in the office has been the inability to reduce unparalleled levels of gun violence in the United States.

“My biggest frustration so far is the fact that this society has not been willing to take some basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who can do just unbelievable damage,” Obama said last year.

“We're the only developed country on Earth where this happens and it happens now once a week, and it's a one day story. There's no place else like this,” he said.


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