| WASHINGTON, March 4
WASHINGTON, March 4 U.S. President Barack Obama
returned to the subject of mass shootings on Tuesday by
proposing to spend millions of dollars more on gun safety
programs, inspections of retailers and background checks for
people buying firearms.
If enacted by a U.S. Congress that has been wary of gun
control measures, the $182 million package would advance an
issue that rose to the top of the national agenda after the
December 2012 shooting of 20 children and six adults at a
Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school.
The White House put forward the package as part of a
proposed budget for the government fiscal year that begins on
Included in the package is $13 million to improve the
background check system run by the FBI and $22 million more for
the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which
inspects federally licensed firearms dealers.
The ATF has for years lacked the money to inspect all gun
shops annually. In 2012, when there were 69,000 firearms
retailers, the ATF said it conducted 13,100 inspections.
Obama proposed $147 million for states and localities to
spend to reduce mass shootings. Of that, $55 million would go to
help states submit criminal and mental health records to the
FBI's background check system and $2 million would be used "to
develop better gun safety mechanisms to prevent the use of
firearms by unauthorized users," according to an administration
The administration proposed spending $75 million on research
and pilot projects about school safety, and $15 million for
training for "active shooter" situations.
In a statement accompanying the budget request, the Justice
Department said it was examining all ways at the federal level
"to keep firearms away from traffickers and others prohibited by
law from possessing firearms."
Obama rarely mentioned gun control while campaigning for a
second, four-year term in 2012, but a month after he won
reelection, the Newtown massacre shocked Americans and altered
the administration's priorities.
The president ordered a review of possible changes to
federal gun laws but ran into opposition from supporters of gun
rights. In April, the Senate rejected by six votes a plan to
extend background checks to online and gun-show sales.
(Editing by Howard Goller and Jim Loney)