Handguns
The list released by the US justice department includes more than a dozen regulations on gun ownership Jim Young/Reuters

A second pass at firearm regulation by the Obama administration has provoked a fierce backlash among gun rights groups in the United States such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Gun Owners of America (GOA) group.

The pro-gun organisations have criticised the plans, more than a dozen new regulations which would bar the mentally ill and individuals previously convicted of domestic abuse from gun ownership, saying the new rules would keep guns from non-violent individuals who did not pose a real risk, the Hill newspaper reported.

The list released by the US justice department addresses some of the proposals made by President Barrack Obama in 2012, following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 which left 26 dead, including 20 children.

It was believed the shooting, which appalled America, would provide an impetus for significant gun reform in the US. Obama called for changes to the law to reduce access to guns by dangerous individuals.

"These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change," he said at the time.

However attempts to pass gun control legislation failed. A Senate bill aimed at imposing stricter rules on background checks was quashed following opposition from the powerful NRA and GOA.

Obama's renewed efforts to pass regulations curbing gun access have already mobilised the same groups and their memberships which strongly advocate the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

"It's clear President Obama is beginning his final assault on our Second Amendment rights by forcing his anti-gun agenda on honest law-abiding citizens through executive force," Luke O'Dell, vice president of political affairs at the National Association for Gun Rights, told the Hill.

The proposed rules would prohibit ownership of a gun by someone who has been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence crime. The rules would also prohibit the mentally ill from owning guns. Another regulation would impose requirements about gun storage.

Under the regulations, the Department of Justice through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would regulate high-powered pistols, a controversial move since attempts to place restrictions on handguns have drawn intense opposition.

Groups pushing for changes to the nation's gun laws have long called for stricter rules about the ability of domestic violence convicts to obtain and keep guns. Curbing access to guns, they argue, will result in a decrease of homicides in domestic violence cases.