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Senator: Obama Just Wants to 'Put Some Parameters Around Existing Law' on Guns

A senator who spent New Year’s Eve tweeting every shooting that had multiple victims in 2015 is at the White House today to help President Obama craft his gun-control executive order.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) — who tweeted as the San Bernardino terrorist attack unfolded, “Your ‘thoughts’ should be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your ‘prayers’ should be for forgiveness if you do nothing – again” — told MSNBC today that he didn’t know what Obama had planned, but he’s sure it will be legal.

“My belief is that he is well within his powers, the executive, to simply put some parameters around existing law,” Murphy said. “Right now, existing law says that anyone who is engaged in the business of selling firearms has to conduct a background check. Well, the business of selling firearms has changed over the last 20 years. You now have individuals going to gun shows, selling firearms on the Internet, who might not have a bricks and mortar store but are essentially in the business of selling firearms just at trade shows and online.”

“And what I’ve asked the president to do, along with many of my colleagues, is to simply clarify for high-volume sellers at places like gun shows, when do you actually have to get a background check for your customers and when you don’t, and when do you not?” the senator added. “That’s simply a clarification of existing law. And I think if he does take that route of providing clarification, he’ll be on firm legal ground.”

Murphy said it’s “mortifying” that Congress hasn’t passed stricter gun laws in the three years since the Sandy Hook shooting in his home state.

“And so I think the president has tried over and over again to work with Congress to get something done,” he said. “He has the ability to simply clarify an existing law to make sure that more sales go through background checks. And, of course, he’s lining up with where 80 percent to 90 percent of the American people are. I mean, everybody agrees that you should just, at the very least, prove that you are not a criminal before you buy a gun.”

“And, listen, background checks wouldn’t have saved the lives of those kids in Sandy Hook, but those families are dedicated to trying to save other lives in places like Chicago or Bridgeport or New York, and this executive action, if he goes through with it, it will lead to less slaughter out in the streets of America.”

Murphy added it would be “dangerous ground for Republicans” to battle the executive order.

“I’m sure that my Republican colleagues in the House and Senate will try to block his executive action. They will not succeed. They won’t get the votes in the Senate, and even if they did, the president would veto it,” he said.

“…So there will be legal challenges, there will be political challenges, but this is good policy for the president, but it’s also good politics for anybody that’s going to get behind it.”