President Obama’s proposed executive actions on gun sales and background checks have the support of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), while drawing the ire of Republicans.
The actions include clarifying exactly when background checks are required, saying anyone “in the business of selling firearms” has to register a licensed gun dealer, narrowing what’s called the “gun show loophole.”
Durbin says this shouldn’t be seen as Obama overstepping his authority.
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“I don’t think he is,” Durbin said. “I think they’ve been careful in the way they’ve mapped this out. When we wrote the laws on background checks, online gun sales weren’t even in the picture. When we wrote the laws on background checks, we didn’t know these gun shows would become a major loophole.”
Durbin feels requiring dealers at gun shows to run background checks may help reduce gun violence in Illinois, saying many of the firearms used in crimes in the state come from gun shows held in Indiana and other states.
Beyond the background check provisions for gun sales, Obama’s order would mean hiring more federal agents to conduct these checks.
Opposition to the proposed action is nearly unanimous among Illinois Republicans in Congress.
U.S. Rep. John Shimkus (R-Collinsville) said in a statement, “It’s a purely political announcement designed to punish and scare the millions of law abiding gun owners the Obama Administration despises. These actions will not hold up in court. They will not stop gun violence. And they will be met with a legislative response because we, conservative Republicans in Congress, do not take kindly to people touching the Bill of Rights.”
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) called it “a blatant disregard for our nation’s Constitution.”
“We have a mental health crisis in this country that cannot be ignored and I hope the president will join Congress in trying to reform the system and address these issues legally and through our legislative process,” Davis said in a statement.