Sam Stein and Lucia Graves
March 16, 2011
WASHINGTON — Faced with a Congress hostile to even slight restrictions of Second Amendment rights, the Obama administration is exploring potential changes to gun laws that can be secured strictly through executive action, administration officials say.
The Department of Justice held the first in what is expected to be a series of meetings on Tuesday afternoon with a group of stakeholders in the ongoing gun-policy debates. Before the meeting, officials said part of the discussion was expected to center around the White House’s options for shaping policy on its own or through its adjoining agencies and departments — on issues ranging from beefing up background checks to encouraging better data-sharing.
Administration officials said talk of executive orders or agency action are among a host of options that President Barack Obama and his advisers are considering. “The purpose of these discussions is to be a productive exchange of good ideas from folks across the spectrum,” one official said. “We think that’s a good place to start.”
Earlier in the day, House Democrats joined New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to offer another possible starting point, announcing legislation that would make fundamental changes to the nation’s gun background check system. Sponsored by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), a longtime gun control advocate, the bill mirrors one introduced late last month by another New York Democrat, Sen. Chuck Schumer.