WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Unburdened by re-election worries and empowered by law to act without Congress, U.S. President Barack Obama could take action to improve background checks on gun buyers, ban cheap ugg boots online
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certain gun imports and bolster oversight of dealers.
Prospects for gun control legislation intensified in the wake of the school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, as more pro-gun rights lawmakers said on Monday they were open to the possibility while Obama and three cabinet members met at the White House to discuss the subject.
Having just won a second four-year term, Obama does not need to fear alienating voters who favor gun rights and he could press ahead without lawmakers on fronts where federal law enables executive action.
Speaking in Newtown, where a gunman on Friday killed 20 children and six adults in an elementary school, Obama vowed late on Sunday to "use whatever power this office holds" to try to prevent such massacres.
"Because what choice do we have? We can't accept events like women nike free
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this as routine," Obama said at Newtown High School.
His administration has the power to issue executive orders or new rules, options that Obama is likely to consider in combination with possible new laws.
The National Rifle Association, the largest U.S. gun rights group with 4 million supporters, relies largely on its ability to influence lawmakers in order to block legislation.
Obama's appointees at the U.S. Justice Department have been studying ideas since the January 8, 2011, shooting of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and 18 others at a public meeting. Giffords survived but six people died.
Christopher Schroeder, who ran the Justice Department's review, said it looked at possible legislation to send to Congress as well as action the administration could take itself.
"You always look at both, because if you can do it administratively it's certainly a less involved process," said Schroeder, who has since returned to a professorship at Duke Law School.
Many of the ideas have to do with the background checks that licensed gun dealers run on potential buyers.
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all the data it should on those ineligible to buy guns. The FBI, which runs the system, could incorporate more data from within the federal government - using evidence of mental incompetence, for example.
There are privacy concerns, however, and the Justice Department is still studying which types of data it can legally use, Schroeder said.
"That kind of system works effectively only if all of the potentially disqualifying information that has been gathered by any federal, state or local authority is accessible to the database, and that's not the case today," he said.
It is not clear what changes to the background checks would have prevented the mass shooting in Newtown, because the killer appeared to have used weapons his mother bought legally.
Other proposals for executive action by Obama include sharing information with state and local law enforcement about possibly illegal purchases; maintaining data on gun sales for longer periods to Tiffany Necklaces
help with investigations; and restricting the importation of certain military-style weapons, as President George H.W. Bush did in 1989.
A pro-gun control mayors' group co-chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has pushed the Obama administration since 2009 to adopt 40 recommendations it said were allowed under existing law.
One of the 40 has been put into effect, said Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and even that recommendation - requiring gun dealers to report sales of multiple semiautomatic weapons - drew heated resistance.
In 2011, when the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) adopted a version of the recommendation aimed at dealers in states near the U.S.-Mexico border, gun makers sued and congressional Republicans tried to eliminate funding for the rule.
A judge upheld it, allowing it to go into effect. The case is now on appeal.
Bloomberg's group is still pushing the other recommendations as it makes plans for a lobbying blitz over new laws, such as a ban on high-capacity magazines. "While they are important, they're not the big-ticket items. And we're in a big-ticket world," Glaze said.
The administration also has leeway to act in how it defines certain ugg boots outlet
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categories of people prohibited from buying a gun.
Federal law bars anyone "who has been adjudicated as a mental defective," but it does not specify whether that means only a court can disqualify someone, said Michael Volkov, a former Republican Justice Department official now at the law firm LeClairRyan.
Another option could be changing how long a firearms dealer must keep records of a sale - a period that is now three days but could be extended, Volkov said.
Since the Justice Department began reviewing ideas to prevent mass shootings in early 2011, it has implemented a handful of changes.
In May, the department unveiled an automated system to feed records of federal indictments into the background checks database, replacing a system in which prosecutors uploaded information manually.
Schroeder said the department's review of firearms-related ideas is ongoing. He described the process as informal, and not one that has produced a formal report.NEWTOWN, Connecticut (Reuters) - Residents of Newtown gathered on Monday to share ideas on how, after the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the small Connecticut town can escape the designation of "just another site" of a school shooting in America.
The group, calling themselves Newtown United, said they hoped that as long as the country's eyes stare mournfully on this sleepy town, something powerful could come of the shooting on Friday that left 20 ugg classic short boots
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first graders, and six teachers and administrators, dead.
Most of all, they talked about guns. And their discussion showed that Newtown, like the rest of the United States, has a long way to go to reach consensus.
"I would like, when you think of Sandy Hook, you think, 'Oh, that's where they banned assault weapons," said John Neuhoff, a retired painting conservateur who lives in Newtown. "If we can ban fireworks, we should be able to ban assault weapons."
Neuhoff said his 13-year-old daughter had volunteered to launch a petition drive.
Newtown United was formed on Sunday night, two days after 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother at their Newtown home and then drove five miles to the elementary school, where he opened fire on classrooms of first graders before turning the gun on himself. About 55 people attended Monday's meeting.
"There's a big feeling of helplessness, at least for me," said Lee Tiffany Bangles
Shull, one of the group's organizers. "There's been so much media attention, and part of this is to take advantage of that ... We need to turn this into something positive."
No major reforms followed mass shootings in Tuscon, Arizona, and Aurora, Colorado, and Shull said he feared the same for Newtown. "Enough is enough," he said of the shootings.
Others suggested creating a public gun-owner registry and restricting the amount of ammunition a person can purchase. Several said they planned to join the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence's rally on Tuesday in Washington.
Still, while most of the residents had come to talk about guns or the need for better mental health services for troubled teens, others objected to what they suggested was an overly assertive and political response to the tragedy.
One man suggested a better response would be to encourage neighbors to smile and shake hands when passing one another on the street, while others bristled at the idea that residents would step head-first into the polarizing U.S. debate over guns.
"Our hearts are broken wide open. If we go into the old battles ugg boots sale cheap
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and divisions, I'm afraid that's going to keep us from being Newtown United. We need to come together and say it's possible," said Ben Roberts.
Many echoed President Barack Obama, who visited Newtown on Sunday and declared that America had failed to protect its children from harm. But they noted that Obama has repeatedly stopped short of issuing an explicit call for gun control or reform that would curtail gun owners' rights.
At the gathering in Newtown, many said it was time for their community, still nike free run
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reeling from tragedy, to take matters into their own hands.
"I sort of hang onto the idea of 'Think globally, Act locally,'" said Craig Mittleman. "My culture is one of getting things done."
(Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Jackie frank)