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Obama administration announces new executive actions on guns

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On Friday, the Obama administration announced pending executive action on gun purchases, focusing primarily on mental health issues, The Blaze reported. The actions would, according to reports, allow the government to get around medical privacy laws in order to obtain more information.

One regulation announced by the administration would gain information that has -- until now -- been previously withheld due to provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPPA, which protects medical privacy.

“Too many Americans have been severely injured or lost their lives as a result of gun violence,” the White House said Friday in a statement. “While the vast majority of Americans who experience a mental illness are not violent, in some cases when persons with a mental illness do not receive the treatment they need, the result can be tragedies such as homicide or suicide.”

Arguing that that terminology in federal law is ambiguous, a proposed Justice Department regulation would clarify who is prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law for mental health reasons.

Unlike legislation, regulations do not require approval from Congress, but must go through a period of public review and comment.

The announcement was made while Obama is still vacationing in Hawaii, The Blaze added, in what is known as a "Friday news dump," a tactic used to avoid media scrutiny.

“We are taking an important, commonsense step to clarify the federal firearms regulations, which will strengthen our ability to keep dangerous weapons out of the wrong hands,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “This step will provide clear guidance on who is prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law for reasons related to mental health, enabling America’s brave law enforcement and public safety officials to better protect the American people and ensure the safety of our homes and communities.”

The Department of Health and Human Services also wants more information on individuals submitted through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS.

The agency wants to get around medical privacy laws the HHS calls a barrier. The agency now seeks to “eliminate this barrier by giving certain HIPAA covered entities an express permission to submit to the background check system the limited information necessary to help keep guns out of potentially dangerous hands.”

An article at Business Insider says the actions show the Obama administration is willing to "go ahead with any and all possible moves on guns."

The NRA, Business Insider reported, said it would not comment on the proposed executive action until it saw the full text of the proposals.

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