His administration has the power to issue executive orders or new rules, options that Obama is likely to consider in combination with possible new laws.

The National Rifle Association, the largest U.S. gun rights group with 4 million supporters, relies largely on its ability to influence lawmakers in order to block legislation.

Obama’s appointees at the U.S. Justice Department have been studying ideas since the January 8, 2011, shooting of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and 18 others at a public meeting. Giffords survived but six people died.

Christopher Schroeder, who ran the Justice Department’s review, said it looked at possible legislation to send to Congress as well as action the administration could take itself.

“You always look at both, because if you can do it administratively it’s certainly a less involved process,” said Schroeder, who has since returned to a professorship at Duke Law School.

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