The next shoe to drop on gun control may come by mid-January, when President Barack Obama is expected to issue an executive order requiring everyone "in the business" of selling firearms to perform background checks.
An ironic twist is that many of the attendees at SHOT each year are federally licensed bricks-and-mortar gun dealers who sometimes concede privately that they have no real problem with all gun sellers being forced to do background checks. These full-time retailers resent competition from casual unlicensed sellers at gun shows.But the National Rifle Association's orthodoxy—that any additional gun control is merely a first step toward bans and confiscation—holds sway in the firearms world, making outward expressions of support among gun sellers for Obama's proposal unlikely. While the enormous gathering in Las Vegas isn't technically an NRA event, the group's strong anti-Obama stance will almost certainly be evident there, and a fresh proposal to stiffen regulation may have the effect of pouring gasoline on a fire already burning hot.There will probably be calls to challenge Obama's authority to broaden the background check mandate without congressional involvement. Lawsuits and objections from pro-gun Republicans on Capitol Hill will likely follow, as has happened with other efforts by the administration to use executive authority in the environmental arena.