Obama is asking Congress to expand background checks on gun buyers to include private sales and is using his executive authority to increase the information available in data banks in the background check system. The White House calls background checks the most efficient and effective way to keep guns away from dangerous individuals.
Obama wants Congress to close loopholes that permit private gun transactions to occur without background checks. The White House says nearly 40 percent of gun sales are conducted by private individuals now exempt from checking the backgrounds of buyers.
Obama is also ordering federal agencies to make "relevant data" available to the federal background check system and to remove barriers that might prevent states from providing information, particularly mental health data, for background checks.
In addition, Obama will nominate Todd Jones as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Jones currently is the acting director of the agency.
On Tuesday, New York became the first state to pass sticker gun laws after the Newtown massacre. The law calls for a tougher assault weapons ban and provisions to try to keep guns away from mentally ill people who make threats.