President Obama announces executve order on gun control

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Washington, D.C. (KTVU) -- President Obama is outlining the executive actions he is taking to try and curb gun violence in this country.

The President says he received input from top Justice Department officials on what he could do to prevent guns from falling into the hands of those posing a danger to themselves, or others.

The President says only Congress can change gun laws.

But he says that since legislators have failed to toughen restrictions, following mass shootings such as San Bernardino, he will strengthen enforcement of existing laws.

"We have tens of thousands of people every single year who are killed by guns," said President Obama. "We have suicides that are committed by firearms at a rate that far exceeds other countries."

The President wants to close the so-called gun show loophole, which allows sales at gun shows without federal background checks.

The FBI is also hiring 230 more people to process those background checks. Dealers who ship weapons would have to alert law enforcement officials, when weapons are lost in transit.

The White House is proposing $500 million to increase access to mental health care.

Because of California's already strict gun laws, that change will not affect people who sell guns here.

A U.C. Berkeley criminal law professor told KTVU the expanded background checks are aimed at closing a huge loophole in the nation's gun laws.

At the White House, the President was introduced by a man who lost his 7-year-old son, Daniel in the Sandy Hook massacre.

"In the three years since those 26 precious lives were lost at that school, far too many more lives have been lost to gun tragedies in this country," said Mark Barden of Newtown, Connecticut.

President Obama came out to a room filled with gun control advocates. Flanked by the loved ones of victims, he wiped tears from his eyes as he spoke. "Every time I think about those kids it gets me mad. And by the way it happens on the streets of Chicago every day."

"A violent felon can buy the exact same weapon over the internet with no background check no questions asked," said the President.

The problem is the Brady Law, which requires background checks for purchases through licensed gun dealers, has a big loophole, because it doesn't define the term gun dealer. So, many gun sellers remain unlicensed, such as at gun shows and therefore are not required to do background checks.

"Anybody in the business of selling firearms, must get a license and conduct background checks or be subject to criminal prosecutions," said the President to a round of applause.

Current law gives a way to circumvent the law to criminals or mentally ill people who are looking to buy a gun.

"If you are a purchaser, what you are hunting for at a gun show is the people who still don't make background checks," said U.C. Berkeley Criminal Law Professor Franklin Zimring.

Zimring adds this change would make a difference in who is able to obtain guns online or at gun shows, but it's unclear how much of a difference. "The loophole has gone from the size of perhaps Mt. Mckinley to a smaller and less clearly defined gray area."

Republican Presidential candidates jumped on the President's plans, with Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz all saying they would rescind the measures.