As the White House gears up for a battle over gun control, Joe Biden has presented 19 moves the administration could take on its own. Speaking to House Dems yesterday, he outlined an array of executive actions, including boosting enforcement of current laws, empowering the CDC to research guns, and extending the sharing of gun databases between the feds and state governments, Politico reports. Biden's proposals "do not involve a change in the law, but enforcing and making sure that the present law is administered as well as possible," said a congressman.
Biden also said President Obama's "campaign structure is still accessible" to aid in the effort, says another lawmaker. But the use of executive orders is likely to cement sentiment among gun owners that Obama is waging a unilateral attack on the Second Amendment. Texas GOP Rep. Steve Stockman has already warned he's ready to file for impeachment if Obama opts for executive action, the New York Times notes. Democrats, however, say Obama won't step out of bounds. Elsewhere in gun-control news:
- A Pew poll finds that 85% of Americans back instituting background checks for private gun sales and gun show sales; some 80% back laws to bar the mentally ill from buying guns. And 67% support a federal gun sales database, while 55% back an assault weapons ban—but both measures are divisive along party lines.
- New York's state Senate has approved a batch of new gun laws, including a wider assault weapons ban and a ban on sales to the mentally ill. The state Assembly is set to vote on the package today; passage would make New York the first state to take legislative action in response to Newtown, the Times notes. The Times-Union has more.
- Regardless of legislative action, however, a Kentucky sheriff says he won't enforce laws he sees as unconstitutional, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. Jackson County's Denny Peyman says he considers it "a moral obligation," and he's got "a team of attorneys to step up with me if necessary."