Sam Graves (R-6) introduced the Defending Gun Rights Against Executive Overreach Act (HR 4379) on Jan. 13. It was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

A day after a Hannibal man stole a firearm and shot a man and his wife, the Congressional representative for Northeast Missouri introduced a bill that would defund President Barack Obama’s sweeping executive actions on guns control.

Sam Graves (R-6) introduced the Defending Gun Rights Against Executive Overreach Act (HR 4379) on Jan. 13. It was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

The Act specifies that no federal funds can be used to “impose a limitation on the conduct of an individual in relation to a firearm that is more restrictive than the limitations on the conduct that are in effect as of January 5, 2016” — the day of Obama’s announcement.

Obama introduced a 10-point plan for stricter gun control with the main objective of more closely defining who sells guns — potentially impacting people who sell guns online or at a flea market. The plan would add 230 more FBI employees to more efficiently handle background checks. Obama’s executive action would not need the approval of Congress.

Graves strongly criticized Obama’s go-it-alone approach to gun law reform.

“Ultimately what all of this comes down to is a President’s disregarding the legislative process and ignoring the fact that Congress has already rejected a lot of these proposals,” he said. “If he believes a policy can stand on its own merits, then he needs to bring it to Congress and go through lawmaking the right way.”

Even members of Obama’s Democratic party took issue with the unilateral approach.

“Instead of taking unilateral executive action, the president should work with Congress and the American people, just as I’ve always done, to pass the proposals he announced today,” West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin said.

Obama’s announcement and Graves’ bill highlight growing discourse surrounding second amendment rights, generally split along party lines.

Graves said Obama’s sweeping proposals are blanket ideas that do not target gun abusers.

“Making anyone who could potentially transfer a firearm register as a gun seller simply doesn’t make sense when, for example, a blanket mandate would prevent a father from willing one his possessions – in this case a firearm – to his son or daughter,” Graves added. “We simply don’t think the federal government should have that authority.”

Obama has said his proposals will likely be challenged in court, and that they won’t prevent every tragedy, but that something was needed to curb gun violence.

“We maybe can’t save everybody, but we could save some,” he said at his announcement.

Graves suggested the president instead focus on mental health issues instead of restricting gun rights.

“Determining the causes of this problem, whether they be societal, economic, genetic, or some combination of the three, will be critical toward preventing many of the tragedies we’ve seen too often in America,” he said.

The introduction of the Defending Gun Rights Against Executive Overreach Act is one of several, mostly symbolic, gestures to illustrate disapproval with the president’s actions.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said that a panel would vote in coming weeks on creating a task force to conduct an investigation into “executive overreach.”

The House GOP is pursuing a federal lawsuit accusing the president of unconstitutionally spending money that Congress has not approved for his health care overhaul. In a separate case, 26 states are seeking to prevent Obama from making it easier for millions of immigrants to avoid deportation, the Associated Press reported.

Mississippi congressman Steve Palazzo says the president’s effort to try to expand background checks to cover more sales of guns between private parties are “just the latest, if not most egregious, violation of the separation of powers” by Obama. He proposed censuring the president — a Congressional disapproval resolution.

A website which tracks the prognosis of bills to make it through committee using a complex algorithm gave Graves’ act a six percent chance of moving past the committee stage.

Still, Graves is optimistic.

“We’ll push to make sure our bill is part of that fight to defend the Second Amendment and block the President’s actions here,” he said. “What we want to do is send a message that regardless of any outcome in federal court, the President does not have the resources or approval from Congress to enforce his proposals.”

Reach editor Eric Dundon at eric.dundon@courierpost.com . The Associated Press contributed to this report.