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Can Obama pass gun control limits by 'executive order' - as long as public backs it?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 11th, 2013
Catholic Online (

U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to weigh in on some theoretical gun laws in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newton, Connecticut. Vice President is expected to present findings to Obama from a gun panel this coming week. Since the House of Representatives is controlled by Republicans, any new gun laws will have a hard chance of winning approval. In response, the president may pass the laws by "Executive order" - a very unpopular move, unless Obama follows popular opinion.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Executive order, where the president can override the legislative process is seen by many as "totalitarian." Since Obama is perceived as the "people's president," the president may just scour opinion polls to pick what the majority of Americans think on the issue, insuring his approval by the electorate.

Among likely paths the president will pursue --

-- is ending the "gun show loophole." People who buy guns at a gun show or through private sales and online shopping will need to have a background check. According to a Gallup poll, 92 percent of Americans favor this position.

-- He will also try to ban high-capacity ammunition clips that contain more than 10 bullets: CNN/ORC, Gallup, Pew, PPP, and YouGov all show at least 53 percent of Americans in favor of this policy.

- Obama will also find ways to make sure that people with poor mental health records do not get a gun. CNN/ORC polls found that 92 percent Americans did not want Americans with mental health problems to be in possession of a gun. PPP took it even further and discovered that 63 percent of Americans want people to be required to take a health exam before buying a gun.

- The president will also try to prevent felons convicted of a violent crime from owning a gun. Ninety-four percent and 92 percent approve of that measure, per PPP and CNN/ORC respectively.

- The president should also try to make sure that guns, even if not recently purchased, would be registered with a government or law enforcement agency.

- In addition, Pew found that 56 percent favor a ban on bullets that explode or are designed to break through a bullet-proof vest.

- Obama should try to make it more difficult to buy ammunition and/or guns over the internet: 69 percent of Americans wanted to ban these practices, according to PPP.

The most vocal proponent of Second Amendment rights, the National Rifle Association, or NRA, the one organization that could rally public opinion against such measures, has suffered a drubbing in public opinions since the sandy Hook shootings. According to Public Policy Polling, only 42 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the NRA, down from 48 percent a scant few weeks ago.

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