Obama, AG weighing gun control actions

President to meet with Loretta Lynch Monday

By Gregory Krieg CNN
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Loretta Lynch & Barack Obama (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama is moving quickly this week to combat a wave of gun violence by going around Congress and using executive action to impose new restrictions.

Obama will meet with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Monday to discuss his options and he'll hold a town hall on the topic Thursday that will air on CNN. These efforts lead up to his final State of the Union address next week in which guns could play a central role.

After seeing a broad set of gun control initiatives repeatedly stalled or defeated by Congress, the White House sources said last week it would pursue unilateral action, likely including some effort to bolster background check requirements for a wide range of sellers, enraging critics who see this as presidential overreach.

"Pretty soon you won't be able to get guns," Donald Trump told CNN's Chris Cuomo Monday during an interview on "New Day." "It's another step in the way of not getting guns."

Ahead of Obama's meeting, House Speaker Paul Ryan called out the President's "dismissiveness" toward the Second Amendment as well as Congress.

"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," Ryan said in a statement Monday. "His proposals to restrict gun rights were debated by the United States Senate, and they were rejected. No President should be able to reverse legislative failure by executive fiat, not even incrementally."

The House Democrats' gun violence task force members are also meeting with Obama on Monday.

The President said in his radio address on New Year's Day he would be meeting with Lynch to "discuss our options," as oppose to doing nothing.

"I get letters from responsible gun owners who grieve with us every time these tragedies happen; who share my belief that the Second Amendment guarantees a right to bear arms; and who share my belief we can protect that right while keeping an irresponsible, dangerous few from inflicting harm on a massive scale," Obama said in his address.

The most sweeping action currently being considered, an executive order defining who's "engaged in the business" of selling guns, would immediately require some private dealers to obtain a license and begin conducting background checks.

But efforts to even partially close the so-called "gun show loophole" are sure to prompt a rash of challenges in court. The resulting rulings and subsequent appeals are likely to drag on well beyond the end of this administration.

Obama's plan has already drawn heated criticism from Republicans, especially among the party's presidential candidates.

Over the weekend, Marco Rubio said reversing Obama's potential actions, which he described as part a "war on the Constitution," would be his top priority upon entering the White House.

While on the trail Monday, the Florida senator recounted a recent news story of nine-year-old in Miami who died from a gunshot wound and who was on a sports team with his youngest son.

"No law in the world would have prevent that," Rubio told a crowd in New Hampshire, saying deaths from gun violence are a "societal issue."

"We as a society need to take responsibility for our children, for our families, for our communities and begin to address what is rotten what is broken in our culture that has led people to have no respect for human life," he added.

A spokeswoman for Ted Cruz this weekend called Obama's plans "complete lunacy" and promised, "If Ted Cruz is elected president, the lawlessness will end on Day One, and Americans' personal liberties will be restored and protected."

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