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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Obama’s Executive Actions on Guns

Claims about President Obama’s executive actions on background checks are the subject of this week’s fact-checking collaboration with CNN’s Jake Tapper.

First, Obama made the claim that “a violent felon can buy the exact same weapon over the Internet with no background check, no questions asked.” Federally licensed firearms dealers are already required to perform background checks on the gun purchaser. That’s whether they are operating online or anywhere else. And, besides, it’s illegal for a felon to purchase a gun, period. But Obama was referring to those who buy guns from individuals who purport to be “private” sellers, not licensed dealers, and therefore are not required to perform background checks.

Then, Jeb Bush, reacting to the president’s proposal, incorrectly claimed that it would take away the rights of someone “selling a gun out of their collection, a one-off gun” by requiring that person to perform background checks. Such “one-off” private gun sales would be unaffected by Obama’s proposals.

And Marco Rubio, in a TV ad, says Obama’s plan is to “take away our guns.” That isn’t true. No guns would be confiscated under Obama’s plan, and no law-abiding citizen would be denied the ability to purchase a gun.

For more on these claims and others about the president’s actions, read our Jan. 8 article “Sorting Out Obama’s Gun Proposal.”