President Barack Obama’s expected new executive actions on gun control are drawing sharp criticism from Republican presidential candidates ahead of their release.
Obama is scheduled to meet Monday with Attorney General Loretta Lynch to finalize the administration’s plans for new curbs on access to guns, including reportedly requiring more gun sellers to conduct background checks on purchasers. Obama used his weekly radio address on Saturday to preview the plan, noting he had asked White House officials after the Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon to look into any new action that he could take.
“I get too many letters from parents, and teachers, and kids, to sit around and do nothing,” Obama said. “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 will participate Thursday in an hour-long, live prime time town hall on guns, CNN announced Sunday. The show, to be hosted by Anderson Cooper, will air at 8 p.m. ET.
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump decried Obama’s new executive actions at a rally in Mississippi on Saturday, vowing that he’d “unsign” them.
“There's an assault on the Second Amendment. You know Obama's going to do an executive order and really knock the hell out of it," Trump said. "The system's supposed to be you get the Democrats, you get the Republicans, and you make deals. He can't do that. He can't do that. So he's going to sign another executive order having to do with the Second Amendment, having to do with guns. I will veto. I will unsign that so fast."
Jeb Bush accused Obama of “recklessly” misusing his executive authority.
“His first impulse is always to take rights away from law-abiding citizens, and it's wrong,” Bush said on Fox News Sunday. “To use executive powers he doesn't have is a pattern that is quite dangerous. It's not a surprise that people don't believe that our government is working on their behalf any more when you have a president that recklessly uses executive authority that the Constitution doesn't provide him.”
Obama, however, who said he’s “fired up” about his final year in office, said his New Year’s resolution is to complete his agenda.
“That's especially true for one piece of unfinished business, that’s our epidemic of gun violence,” he said.