List of Obama Gun Laws Passed by Congress

List and Explanation of Gun Control Proposals

The manager of Dave's Guns holds a Colt AR-15
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Gun enthusiasts have portrayed Barack Obama as the "most anti-gun president in American history" and claimed that a number of Obama gun laws placed new restrictions on law-abiding citizens who own, buy and sell firearms. "President Obama's obsession with gun control knows no boundaries," the National Rifle Association has said.

But the reality was much different.

The number of Obama gun laws passed during his two terms in office comes in at only two, and neither placed additional restrictions on gun owners.

In fact, the two gun laws signed by Obama actually expanded the rights of gun owners in the United States.

Obama Gun Law Proposals

That is not to say Obama was not critical of the use of guns to commit the numerous mass shootings and acts of terrorism during his tenure in the White House. Quite the opposite. Obama sharply criticized the gun lobby and the easy access to firearms.

Obama also made curtailing gun violence a central theme of his second-term agenda after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012. The president signed executive orders calling for mandatory criminal background checks on gun-buyers and several other measures that were unpopular in Congress including a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

But he was unable to win passage of new laws and insisted authorities do more to enforce measures already on the books.

Critics, however, point to Obama's issuance of 23 executive actions on gun violence in January 2016 as proof that the Democratic president was anti-gun.

What most fail to point out is that those executive actions contained no new laws or regulations; and they were not executive orders, which are different than executive actions

"For all the pomp and ceremony, nothing in the president’s proposals is going to put a dent in U.S. gun crime or even substantially change the federal legal landscape.

  In that sense, apoplectic opponents and overjoyed supporters are both probably overreacting," wrote Adam Bates, a policy analyst with the libertarian Cato Institute's Project on Criminal Justice.

Gun Laws Signed By Obama

During his first term Obama didn't call for any major new restriction on guns or gun owners. Instead he urged authorities to enforce the state and federal laws already on the books. In fact, Obama signed only two major laws that address how guns are carried in America, and both actually expand the rights of gun owners.

One of the laws allows gun owners to carry weapons in national parks; that law took effect in February 2012 and replaced President Ronald Reagan's policy of required guns be locked in glove compartments of trunks of car that enter national parks.

Another gun law signed by Obama allows Amtrak passengers to carry guns in checked baggage, a move that reversed a measure put in place after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Obama often mentions the expansion of gun rights under those two laws. He wrote in 2011:

"In this country, we have a strong tradition of gun ownership that's handed from generation to generation. Hunting and shooting are part of our national heritage. And, in fact, my administration has not curtailed the rights of gun owners - it has expanded them, including allowing people to carry their guns in national parks and wildlife refuges."

Obama has repeatedly express support for the Second Amendment. "If you’ve got a rifle, you’ve got a shotgun, you’ve got a gun in your house, I’m not taking it away. Alright?" Obama has said.

National Rifle Association Criticism of Obama

During the 2008 presidential campaign the NRA Political Victory Fund mailed out tens of thousands of brochures to gun owners and like-minded voters that accused Obama of lying about his position on gun control.

The brochure read:

"Barack Obama would be the most anti-gun president in American history. Senator Obama says 'words matter.' But when it comes to your Second Amendment rights, he refuses to speak honestly about where he stands. In fact, Obama hides behind carefully chosen words and vague statements of support for sportsmen and gun rights to sidestep and camouflage the truth."

Even though the president didn't sign a single bill into law limiting the use or purchase of guns during his first term the NRA Political Victory Fund continued to warn its members and like-minded voters during the 2012 election that Obama would make weapons a target in a second term.

"If Barack Obama wins a second term in office, our Second Amendment freedom will not survive. Obama will never have to face the voters again, and will therefore be unleashed to push the most extreme elements of his gun-ban agenda to every corner of America."

The NRA Political Victory Fund also falsely claimed that Obama had agreed to give the United Nations authority over the guns owned by Americans. "Obama has already endorsed moving ahead toward a U.N. gun ban treaty and will likely sign it after it’s negotiated," the group said.

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Murse, Tom. "List of Obama Gun Laws Passed by Congress." ThoughtCo, Jul. 24, 2016, Murse, Tom. (2016, July 24). List of Obama Gun Laws Passed by Congress. Retrieved from Murse, Tom. "List of Obama Gun Laws Passed by Congress." ThoughtCo. (accessed October 17, 2017).