RALEIGH (WTVD) --President Barack Obama moved Monday to require all gun sellers to register as dealers - even those who sell at gun shows and online - and to run background checks on all prospective purchasers, aiming to curb a scourge of gun violence despite unyielding opposition to new gun laws in Congress.
In a bid to narrow the so-called gun show loophole, the Justice Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will issue updated guidance that says the government can consider someone a gun dealer regardless of where he or she sells the guns, officials said.
Only federally licensed gun dealers must conduct background checks on buyers, and gun control advocates say people who sell guns outside of gun stores exploit that provision to skirt the background check requirement.
At the Personal Defense and Gun Safety Center on Tryon Road in Raleigh, gun owners weren't enthused about more regulations.
Click here to read the White House' remarks on new executive actions.
"I think it's one of Obama's moves to circumvent Congress and rule by imperial edict," said Pat Connelly from Raleigh. The Vietnam veteran was unimpressed with gun laws in general.
"They're totally ineffective," he said. "The gun laws that are being proposed and the gun laws that are currently in effect would not have prevented any of the mass shootings we've had of late."
Alex Newcomb of Raleigh agrees. "If you make a law that says we need universal background checks, well, let's look at points where that would have stopped the crime.
"It's one of those things where you can say it works but you don't actually know because you can't go back in time and say, 'If we didn't do this now, would it happen again?' You can do something and still not have it be effective," Newcomb added. "I can lock my car twice instead of once; it doesn't make it any more locked. When you say strengthen background checks, there's a lot of ambiguity there."
But gun control advocates say when it comes to personal safety, every little bit helps.
Becky Ceartas with North Carolinians Against Gun Violence said, "If you're a domestic violence abuser, minor, criminal, dangerously mentally ill, you can buy a gun at a gun show or online, no questions asked."
The so-called "gun show loophole" allows private sales at gun shows without background checks. In North Carolina, that applies to long-guns, but not handguns.
"This is something where if we can implement this nationally on all gun sales," said Ceartas, "it would go such a long way to saving lives and protecting the American people."
Obama's executive actions on gun control fall short of what some gun control advocates have called for, but were nevertheless sure to spark a confrontation with Republicans and gun rights groups that oppose new impediments to buying guns.
"We're very comfortable that the president can legally take these actions now," said Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
In an attempt to prevent gun purchases from falling through the cracks, the FBI will hire 230 more examiners to process background checks, the White House said. The FBI has a computerized system that can process background checks for many in seconds. But in instances where the FBI needs more time, the government only has three days before prospective buyers can return and buy the gun without being cleared.
Obama defended the measures even before they were announced, insisting they fall within his legal authority and uphold the Second Amendment right to own a gun. He planned to announce the new measures at an event at the White House on Tuesday.
"This is not going to solve every violent crime in this country," Obama said. Still, he added, "It will potentially save lives and spare families the pain of these extraordinary losses."
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