Obama takes action to widen background checks for gun sales

President Barack Obama speaks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, during a meeting with law enforcement officials to discuss executive actions the president can take to curb gun violence.

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama moved Monday to expand background checks to cover more firearms sold at gun shows, online and anywhere else, aiming to curb a scourge of gun violence despite unyielding opposition to new laws in Congress.

Obama's plan to broaden background checks forms the centerpiece of a broader package of gun control measures the president plans to take on his own in his final year in office. Although Obama can't unilaterally change gun laws, the president is hoping that beefing up enforcement of existing laws can prevent at least some gun deaths in a country rife with them.

"This is not going to solve every violent crime in this country," Obama said. Still, he added, "It will potentially save lives and spare families the pain of these extraordinary losses."

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