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Obama announces executive actions on gun control

[JURIST] US President Barack Obama [official profile] on Tuesday announced [remarks] executive actions on gun control [WH fact sheet]. The plan would require those in the business of selling firearms, including those selling firearms at gun shows, to be licensed and conduct background checks, thus closing the infamous "gun show loophole" [TIME report]. Those seeking to purchase more dangerous firearms such as sawed-off shotguns or machine guns would have to pass background checks through trusts or corporations. While Obama stressed the importance of effective and efficient law enforcement as a means to reduce gun violence, the he also addressed issues of mental health. Obama announced that the plan will provide additional funding for mental health treatment and ensure that mental health records are included in background checks.

Gun control [JURIST backgrounder] and the Second Amendment continue to be controversial national topics, and gun awareness has risen in the wake of recent shootings across the nation. In December the US Court of Appeals for the District of Colombia Circuit vacated [JURIST report] a lower court ruling that found that a DC gun law requiring a concealed carry permit outside of the home may violate the Constitution. In October Maine's revised concealed carry law went into effect [JURIST report] allowing legal gun owners to carry concealed weapons without a permit. Earlier that month the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld [JURIST report] the main parts of Connecticut and New York gun control legislation that ban semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity magazines. In September the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a mixed ruling [JURIST report] on DC gun laws, ultimately upholding six and striking down four controversial elements of the Firearms Registration Amendment Act and the Firearms Amendment Act of 2012. The laws were created in response to the Supreme Court striking down [JURIST report] a DC law prohibiting firearm ownership in 2008.

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