ATF: Obama’s Executive Action More About Law Reminders, Not Changing Laws

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- President Barack Obama announced executive action on tightening gun laws in the United States on Tuesday.

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Obama’s executive action is less about changing rules and regulations on guns and more about reminding the public what those rules and regulations currently are.

Obama said those in the business of dealing firearms need a federal firearms license.

"Anybody in the business of selling firearms must get a license and conduct background checks or be subject to criminal prosecutions,” Obama said Tuesday.

John Ham, of the ATF Kansas City Field Division, said the definition of those that need a license hasn’t really changed.

“That’s not an occasional sale to enhance your own collection, and that’s not an occasional sale to a family member or a friend. Those are all perfectly legal without a federal firearms license,” Ham said.

So what meets the definition of being engaged in the business of dealing firearms?

“If this is something you do on a routine basis, something you devote time to and energy towards with the objective of making a profit or deriving a livelihood from that activity, then you’re required under federal regulation to have a federal firearms license,” Ham said.

ATF officials said it doesn’t matter whether that activity is taking place in a brick and mortar shop, online, at a gun show or in any other capacity -- a license is required if you sell guns on a regular basis.

Tom Hudson is the general manager of Crossroads Shooting Sports in Johnston. He said if someone has enough drive to hurt themselves or others with firearms, they will find a way.

“There’s evil in the world, and when someone has the intent to harm themselves or others, history has proved that there’s not a rule or a law or a situation that will really truly prevent their intent from being fulfilled,” Hudson said.

While Hudson doesn't believe changing rules or laws can stop gun violence, he does support modernizing the criminal background check system for gun buyers. He called the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Check System antiquated.

“It’s been going through an update for many, many years now, and it’s far from being a good system,” Hudson said.

The Iowa Firearms Coalition also supports increasing the efficiency of the background check system but called the president's announcement Tuesday "political theater."

“I think this is an attempt to intimidate people into not trying to sell guns privately,” said Richard Rogers, of the Iowa Firearms Coalition.

Gun rights supporters that spoke with Channel 13 on Tuesday said they support the idea of improving access to medical and mental health records for people buying guns and integrating those practices into the criminal background check system.

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