The Obama administration is using executive authority to close two gun-buying loopholes, a narrower version of the post-Newtown gun legislation that fell apart in the Senate four months ago. The new rules — one concerning background checks, the other the reimportation of weapons — could reduce the number of gun purchases a year by 70,000.
"It's simple, it's straightforward, it's common sense," Vice President Joe Biden said today from the White House. The executive action will only apply to relatively few gun purchases, though. The first loophole closed by Obama was used 39,000 times last year and allowed weapon purchasers to avoid background checks by registering a gun to a corporation or trust. With the second loophole, American military weapons were sold to allies and then re-imported back into the U.S. and sold through private groups. That loophole has resulted in the re-importation of 250,000 such guns since 2005, which equates to about 31,000 guns per year.
That total of 70,000 guns may sound like a lot, but it's a drop in the tank-sized bucket compared to the 17 million applications for background checks to buy guns in the U.S. in just the last year.