With congressional Republicans unlikely to pass gun control immediately, President Obama is almost certain to push through some kind of measures on the issue through executive orders.
“The president is going to act. There are executive orders, executive action that can be taken,” Vice President Biden said on Wednesday at one of the meetings of the task force on gun control he is leading at Obama’s direction.
White House aides have described a three-part process on gun control in the wake of the tragic shooting in Newtown. They intend to use Obama’s executive power to make incremental changes that won’t require congressional approval, such as making it harder for people who are mentally ill to purchase guns and strengthening background checks for gun purchases. Then, the president will use the State of the Union and other public speeches to try to get public opinion behind broader gun control measures such as a ban on assault weapons.
The goal would be to galvanize enough momentum on the issue to then force Republicans in the House and some Democrats from red states to change their positions and embrace gun control measures. This will be a tall order, as so far only a handful of House Republicans have said they will vote for new gun control measures.