Justice Dept. Studied and Shelved Ideas to Bolster Gun Database
WASHINGTON ó After the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and others in early 2011, the Justice Department drew up a detailed list of steps the government could take to expand the background-check system in order to reduce the risk of guns falling into the hands of mentally ill people and criminals.
The proposals, though, were shelved at the department without action against the backdrop of the election campaign and the politically charged Congressional investigation into the Operation Fast and Furious gun trafficking case, according to people familiar with the internal deliberations.
While it is not clear whether any of the proposals would have had an effect on the massacre at an Connecticut elementary school, the set of recommendations could provide a blueprint if the Obama administration chooses to go forward with more aggressive steps to curb gun violence. The Justice Departmentís list included several measures that President Obama could enact by executive order even if Congress failed to take any new actions.