Gun-rights advocates responded broadly to President Obama's measures aimed at keeping firearms away from the mentally ill, with many conveying a general mistrust of the administration on gun issues and cautioning that "the devil's in the details" of the newest proposals.
"Nobody, including gun owners, wants anyone with a severe mental illness to be able to get a gun," Dave Dalton, founder of the American Gun Owners Alliance, told Newsmax. "And all the shootings we've seen over the last year have been by someone who has been mentally unstable.
"But the fact of the matter is, they're addressing something in a way that makes gun owners nervous — and the devil's going to be in the details."
"We really have a problem with what they're doing and the way they're doing it," said Jeff Knox, director of the Firearms Coalition. "Congress has looked at this issue and has rejected action on this issue.
"When Congress looks at something and says 'no', that's not traditionally a green light for the White House to go and do it on their own.
"That's an overreach on the part of the executive — and if we had a Congress and a system that was functioning properly, they would slap him down for this and they would refuse to allow this to happen," Knox said.
Under the measures announced by the White House
, the Justice Department will propose changes to the federal background check system to clarify who under U.S. law is prohibited from possessing a firearm because of mental health problems.
The Department of Health and Human Services also will propose a regulation aimed at making it easier for states to submit information about the mentally ill to the federal system, without blocking all people who seek mental health treatment from owning guns.
“The administration is committed to making sure that anyone who may pose a danger to themselves or others does not have access to a gun,” the White House said in a statement. “The federal background check system is the most effective way to assure that such individuals are not able to purchase a firearm from a licensed gun dealer.”