After failing to get Congressional action, the Obama administration is announcing two new policies to control guns.
The news came as Vice President Joe Biden swore in Todd Jones as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The new policies are narrow and modest in scope but illustrate the administration's determination to advance gun control, even as Congress stalls on the issue.
One policy will ban private entities from importing military-grade weapons back into the United States after the government has sold or donated them to allies.
The White House said the government has approved 250,000 of those guns to come back into the United States in the last eight years. It believes that some end up on the streets.
However, critics say the ban will mainly affect antiquated World War II-era weapons that rarely turn up at crime scenes.
The administration is also closing a loophole that allows corporations and trusts to register guns without a background check. The administration sai until now, felons have been able to skirt the law using the loophole.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., criticized the president, saying he governs only by executive action and has failed to enforce gun laws already on the books. The National Rifle Association said Obama is inhibiting the rights of law-abiding gun owners.
Supporters, like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Merino, say the measures represent important steps to keep military-grade weapons off the streets and plug a deadly hole in the background check system.