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Could President Obama Take Executive Action On Gun Control?

In the wake of yesterdays’s mass shooting at a social services center in San Bernardino, California – just five days after another deadly shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado – President Obama had this to say, on CBS:

“We have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world. And there are some steps we could take not to eliminate every one of these mass shootings, but to improve the odds that they don’t happen as frequently: common-sense gun safety laws, stronger background checks. And for those who are concerned about terrorism, some may be aware of the fact that we have a no-fly list where people can’t get on planes, but those same people who we don’t allow to fly could go into a store right now in the United States and buy a firearm and there’s nothing that we can do to stop them. That’s a law that needs to be changed.”

But with Congress showing no willingness to take any action on gun control, does President Obama have the authority to take executive action on gun control?

Here & Now’s Indira Lakshmanan poses that question to Robert Spitzer, chair of the Political Science Department at SUNY Cortland, and author of the recent book “Guns Across America: Reconciling Gun Rules and Rights.”


  • Robert Spitzer, professor of political science at SUNY Cortland and author of the book "Guns across America: Reconciling Gun Rules and Rights." He tweets @spitzerb.
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