One of the president's executive actions on Wednesday was to nominate B. Todd Jones to head the ATF, which has been without a permanent director since 2006. Jones has served as the bureau's acting director since 2011.
Other steps Obama took through his presidential powers include:
-- Ordering tougher penalties for people who lie on background checks.
-- Requiring federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
-- Ordering a review of safety standards for gun locks and gun safes.
Local and State Reaction
A state representative from The Woodlands said he would push to make a law banning semiautomatic weapons unenforceable in Texas.
"Our rights are enumerated in the Constitution and they cannot be infringed upon, and they should not be infringed upon," state Rep. Steve Toth said.
Houston attorney Dan Cogdell said Toth wouldn't have a leg to stand on, pointing to the supremacy clause in the Constitution.
"If there's a conflict between a federal law and a state law, the judge must follow the federal law," Codgell said.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry stood firm in his opposition to the president's plan.
"The Vice President's committee was appointed in response to the tragedy at Newtown, but very few of his recommendations have anything to do with what happened there. Guns require a finger to pull the trigger. The sad young man who did that in Newtown was clearly haunted by demons and no gun law could have saved the children in Sandy Hook Elementary from his terror. There is evil prowling in the world - it shows up in our movies, video games and online fascinations, and finds its way into vulnerable hearts and minds. As a free people, let us choose what kind of people we will be. Laws, the only redoubt of secularism, will not suffice. Let us all return to our places of worship and pray for help. Above all, let us pray for our children. In fact, the piling on by the political left, and their cohorts in the media, to use the massacre of little children to advance a pre-existing political agenda that would not have saved those children, disgusts me, personally. The second amendment to the Constitution is a basic right of free people and cannot be nor will it be abridged by the executive power of this or any other president," Perry said in a statement.
Some Houstonians also do not want stricter gun control measures.
"I think it's kind of silly. Most of those assault rifles aren't assault rifles. It's generally just the look of the rifle and those features aren't going to stop someone from committing a crime," Scott Jackson said.
"Even if you do have some type of psychological issue, you're going to be able to access a gun plain and simple from someone on the street. You're going to be able to access a gun," Patty Granados said.
"It's not the honest people who are doing it. It's the criminals. You get rid of the weapons, criminals are still going to have it," Greg Deal said.
Some Houstonians said they hope stricter laws could help curb violent crimes.
"I think an assault weapons ban is definitely something we should consider," Rachel Lombardo said. "I don't think weapons should be banned completely, but I don't think a civilian should have a semi automatic assault rifle."
"Every little bit is going to help, whether we catch everything, someone is going to fall through the crack," Ron Pipes said. "But if we can report something and catch one incident before it happens, you'll save a life."