President Barack Obama is spending the first week of the new year planning new executive actions on gun control. In an address last week, Obama said he will be meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Monday to explore options for tougher gun control restrictions—specifically regarding the so-called “gun show loophole” and strengthening background checks.
Obama is also expected to join CNN for a live town hall meeting at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia on Thursday, in which he will answer questions from the audience and go into greater detail on his final-year push for gun control.
As expected, the news of another possible executive order have drawn sharp criticism from Republicans, perhaps most vocally from the Republican presidential candidates. Several Republican presidential candidates have promised to rescind Obama’s executive orders if they are elected into the Oval Office. Donald Trump, who is still reigning as the front-runner on many polls, mocked Obama’s frequent use of executive action.
“Our country wasn’t based on executive orders,” he told CBS’ Face the Nation.
“I don’t like anything having to do with changing our Second Amendment,” he added. “We have plenty of rules and regulations.”
New Jersey Governor and fellow presidential hopeful Chris Christie told Fox News that Obama was “a petulant child” who resorts to executive action “whenever he can’t get what he wants.” Former Florida governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush also chimed in, saying that the use of an executive order to push new gun control restrictions was completely inappropriate.
“His first impulse is always to take rights away from law-abiding citizens,” Bush told Fox News. “And it’s wrong. And to use executive powers that he doesn’t have is a pattern that’s quite dangerous.”
Gun control has long been an agenda for Obama’s administration, especially after the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Despite strong support from Democratic lawmakers, Obama has been largely unsuccessful in passing any laws on a national scale. Obama commented on this in his first weekly address of 2016, in which he described the “epidemic of gun violence” as unfinished business.
“Three years ago, a bipartisan, commonsense bill would have required background checks for virtually everyone who buys a gun,” Obama said. “Keep in mind, this policy was supported by some 90 percent of the American people. It was supported by a majority of NRA households. But the gun lobby mobilized against it. And the Senate blocked it. Since then, tens of thousands of our fellow Americans have been mowed down by gun violence.”
Obama is expected to announce the new executive action sometime next week, just before the annual State of the Union address. You can watch his weekly address for the week of January 1 below: