Obama Readying Executive Action to Rein in Gun Violence

U.S. President Barack Obama is meeting Monday with his top law enforcement officials ahead of his expected announcement of executive orders tightening federal gun control regulations.

Obama is bringing Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey and others to the White House to discuss what actions he can take to try to curb gun violence.

By working through executive orders, the president does not need the backing of Congress, which is led by members of the Republican Party who overwhelmingly oppose restrictions on gun ownership.  But any action Obama does take will likely face legal challenges.

The president’s focus on gun violence comes after a series of deadly mass shootings across the United States in recent years, including last month’s massacre in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14 people.

“Each time we’re told that common sense reforms like background checks might not have stopped the last massacre, or the one before that, so we shouldn’t do anything,” Obama said in a radio address Friday.  “We know that we can’t stop every act of violence.  But what if we tried to stop even one?”

Town Hall planned 

On Thursday, Obama will discuss the issue further at a CNN town hall discussion on gun control.

That event comes days before the president gives his final State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on January 12.  He will leave office in January 2017 after eight years in office and is focusing on what he can accomplish in his final year.

“I am fired up for the year that stretches out before us,” Obama said in his Friday address.

Like his predecessors, Obama is expected to devote a great deal of the final year of his presidency to foreign affairs.  The top items on his agenda include securing congressional passage of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, and a possible trip to Cuba.

Obama achieved a diplomatic breakthrough last year by restoring formal relations with the communist-led Caribbean island, ending more than five decades of Cold War-era hostilities.

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