Gun safety group recommends action by president

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 05, 2015 5:32 PM

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A gun safety group urged the White House on Monday to take a series of steps it said would help prevent the kind of mass shooting that killed 10 people at an Oregon community college last week and renewed the debate on gun control.

Everytown for Gun Safety, a group that advocates what it calls "common-sense" gun control reform, issued the recommendations in response to President Barack Obama's comments after Thursday's killings - the deadliest U.S. mass shooting in two years.

Obama said gun violence in the United States had become routine and pleaded for political action.

"The president rightfully asked what he could do to prevent gun violence tragedies – our recommendations answer that call," John Feinblatt, the president of Everytown for Gun Safety, said in a statement.

The group, which was founded by mayors including former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, recommended five steps it said the president could take without requiring action from Congress.

The group first recommended the Obama administration clarify the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990, which bars possession of a gun within 1,000 feet of a school. The law exempts people with a qualified state permit, but it is not clear which permits qualify for the exemption.

The group also recommended a regulation clarifying that high-volume gun sellers are engaged in the business of dealing firearms, and thus must get a federal firearms license and comply with criminal background checks for gun sales.

Third, it recommended that federal law enforcement be directed to identify and arrest dangerous criminals who try to buy illegal guns, and notify and work with local and state officials when there are attempts.

In addition, the federal government should help states enforce their existing background check laws by publishing aggregate background check denial data for guns sold by unlicensed sellers, such as private individuals, the group said in a report.

Lastly, the group called for further protection of domestic abuse victims by banning all convicted abusers, regardless of marital status, from having guns.

Gun-rights advocates argue that ownership restrictions violate the constitutional right to keep and bear arms, and say officials should do more to enforce existing laws and rules rather than making more.

Everytown for Gun Safety - which says it is the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country - said its proposals would crack down on gun trafficking and curb the sale of guns without background checks.

(Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales; Editing by David Alexander)