President Obama told one questioner that his gun control actions would make it “a little more difficult and a little more expensive” to buy a firearm during a town hall on Thursday.
“Thank you for making it more difficult for guns to get in the hands of those who shouldn’t have them,” audience member Cleo Pendleton said to the President. “Thank you for the action you took on Tuesday but i want to ask a question, how can we stop the trafficking of guns from states with looser gun laws into states with tougher gun laws, because i believe that’s the case often in chicago and possibly the source of the gun that shot and murdered my daughter.”
“Well, first of all, it’s great to see you again and, you know, part of the reason that we do this is because when you meet parents of wonderful young people and they tell their stories, at least for me, I think of Malia and Sasha and my nieces and my nephews and, you know, the pain that any of us go through with a loss like that is extraordinary and I couldn’t be prouder of the families who are here representing both sides but who have been affected in those ways,” Obama responded.
“If we are able to set up a strong background check system, and my proposal by the way includes having the FBI hire a couple hundred more people to help process background checks because their big numbers you’re talking about 20 million checks that are getting done every year. Hiring 200 more ATF agents to be able to go after unscrupulous gun dealers. Then that will apply across the country and so, you know, some states may have laws that allow for conceal and carry. Some states may not. There’s still going to be differences, but what will at least be consistent across the country is that it’s a little bit harder to get a gun.
“Now, we can’t guarantee that criminals are not going to have ways of getting guns, but for example, it may be a little more difficult and a little more expensive, and the laws of supply and demand mean that if something is harder to get and a little more expensive to get, fewer people get them. And that in and of itself can make a difference.”
Obama then explained why making guns harder to buy might reduce crime, in his opinion.
“If somebody is a straw purchaser and what that means is they don’t intend the guns for themselves, they intend to resell them to somebody else, they go to a gun show in indiana where right now they don’t have to do a background check,” he said. “Load up a van and open up that van and sell them to kids and gangs in Chicago, if now that person has to go through a background check, they have to register. ATF has the capacity to find out if and when a gun is used in a crime in Chicago where that gun come from. and now you know all right, here is somebody who seems to be willing to sell a gun to a 15-year-old. who had a known record.”