President Barack Obama is expected to unveil an executive order in early January to impose new gun controls.
The announcement, which comes in the wake of repeated failures by Congress to agree on new legislation, is likely to be made before the State of the Union address scheduled for Jan. 12, CNN reported.
The White House refused to provide details about the measures Obama might adopt.
“It is complicated. That’s why it’s taken some time for our policy folks, our lawyers and [experts] to work through this and see what’s possible,” commented White House spokesman Eric Schultz, according to CNN.
Sources familiar with the policy discussion told CNN Obama would likely tighten up requirements for gun sellers to perform background checks on purchasers. Currently, individuals selling guns from their own personal collection or on an occasional basis are exempt from having to conduct such checks.
He may also make available more funding to government agencies to enable stronger enforcement of existing gun laws.
The National Rifle Association made no comment on the latest news. Earlier in December, when reports first surfaced suggesting the Obama administration was considering an executive order, an NRA spokesperson said the president’s “gun control agenda was rejected by Congress. Now, he is doing what he always does, when he doesn’t get his way, defying the will of the people and using executive action.”
Although Obama has frequently raised the issue of gun control following the numerous mass shootings, he stepped up his call for action once again after the San Bernardino, California attack on Dec. 2, where two shooters killed 14 people.
“This tragedy reminds us of our obligation to do everything in our power, together, to keep our community safe,” Obama said in his weekly radio address after the San Bernardino attacks, The Huffington Post reported. “We know that the killers in San Bernardino used military-style assault weapons -- weapons of war -- to kill as many people as they could. It’s another tragic reminder that here in America it’s way too easy for dangerous people to get their hands on a gun.”
The president added he thought it was absurd that individuals on a no-fly list due to security concerns could still purchase a firearm.