Obama announces 23 executive actions, asks Congress to pass gun laws
President Obama signs gun-violence-related executive actions following an announcement at the White House Wedensday.
January 16th, 2013
02:32 PM ET

Obama announces 23 executive actions, asks Congress to pass gun laws

  • President Barack Obama announces 23 executive actions on gun control, separately asks Congress to pass gun-control laws
  • Obama asks Congress to pass laws that would: require background checks on all gun sales; restore a ban on "military-style assault weapons"; ban gun magazines with capacities of more than 10 rounds; and toughen penalties on people who sell guns to those who can't have them
  • Below are the latest updates as they come to us. Also, you can read our full story, and check out details of Obama's plan.

[Updated at 2:32 p.m. ET] The National Rifle Association of America has issued a statement responding to Obama's announcement:

"Throughout its history, the National Rifle Association has led efforts to promote safety and responsible gun ownership. Keeping our children and society safe remains our top priority. The NRA will continue to focus on keeping our children safe and securing our schools, fixing our broken mental health system, and prosecuting violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law. We look forward to working with Congress on a bi-partisan basis to find real solutions to
protecting America's most valuable asset our children.

"Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation. Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy."

[Updated at 12:43 p.m. ET] Senate Democratic leadership sources tell CNN that passing any new legislation will be extremely difficult because more than a dozen vulnerable Democrats from conservative states will probably resist much of what the president is pushing, according to CNN's Dana Bash.

These Democratic sources say the most likely legislation to pass will be strengthening background checks, since it is the least overt form of gun control and it also appeals to gun rights advocates' emphasis on keeping guns away from people with mental health and criminal problems.

[Updated at 12:42 p.m. ET] Reaction to Obama's announcement is starting to come in. From Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, whose state was the site of the December 14 school massacre that prompted Obama to examine gun control steps:

"In the hours after the worst of our fears were confirmed, in the midst of the grief and sorrow over the loss of 20 innocent children and six dedicated educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School, there was one question on the minds of people across Connecticut and around the nation: How do we make sure this never happens again? Today the president took the critical first step toward answering that question. The common sense measures he proposed today are something that we should all be able to agree on, and I want to commend him and the vice president for their work on this issue."

From Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner:

"House committees of jurisdiction will review these recommendations. And if the Senate passes a bill, we will also take a look at that."

[Updated at 12:22 p.m. ET] The announcement is over, and Obama is signing the 23 executive actions. These actions are in addition to laws that Obama wants Congress to pass. Here, according to the White House, are the 23 executive actions that he and his administration will do:

1. "Issue a presidential memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system."

2. "Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system."

3. "Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system."

4. "Direct the attorney general to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks."

5. "Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun."

6. "Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers."

7. "Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign."

8. "Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission)."

9. "Issue a presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations."

10. "Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement."

11. "Nominate an ATF director."

12. "Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations."

13. "Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime."

14. "Issue a presidential memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence."

15. "Direct the attorney general to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies."

16. "Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes."

17. "Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities."

18. "Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers."

19. "Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education."

20. "Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover."

21. "Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges."

22. "Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations."

23. "Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health."

[Updated at 12:17 p.m. ET] Obama says he acknowledges that Americans have certain unalienable rights, but with those rights come responsibilities, and that Americans are "responsible for each other." These rights including those to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were denied to victims of high profile shooting such as those at Virginia Tech last decade and the December 14 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Obama called for public pressure on Congress and the gun lobby to push for stronger steps against gun violence, saying "the only way we can change is if the American people demand it."

"Let's do the right thing ... for (shooting victims) and for the country that we love so much. Thank you. I'm going to sign these orders," he said.

[Updated at 12:10 p.m. ET] More details on what Obama said about the 23 executive actions he's poised to take: The actions, he said, include those that would strengthening background checks on gun sales and expand safety programs in schools.

He hasn't said what all of the 23 actions would do.

[Updated at 12:09 p.m. ET] Obama says he will nominate B. Todd Jones, acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as its permanent chief. The agency has lacked a permanent leader for six years.

[Updated at 12:07 p.m. ET]  Obama says he will sign 23 executive orders relating to this issue today.

He also will ask Congress to pass laws, including ones that would:

– require universal background checks (background checks on anyone who would buy a gun,  whether in stores or at auctions and conventions)

– restore a ban on "military-style assault weapons" (the ban expired in 2004)

– ban gun magazines with capacities of more than 10 rounds

– tougher penalties on people who sell guns to people who aren't allowed to have guns

[Updated at 11:59 a.m. ET] President Obama has started to speak, and he's thanking Biden for his work to recommend gun-control steps in the past couple of weeks.

Obama also is acknowledging four children who are sitting being and to the left of his podium. These children were asked to attend the announcement because they wrote letters to Obama after the December 14 shooting at a Newtown, Connecticut, school.

The nation should be motivated to keep children such as these from harm, he said. "Their voices should compel us to change," and that's why he asked Biden to come up with recommendations that the country should execute "right now" to curb gun violence, Obama said.

[Updated at 11:56 a.m. ET] "The world has changed and it is demanding action, it is in this context that the president" asked me to come up gun-control recommendations, Biden said.

Some of the recommendations that Biden's task force gave to Obama on Monday include executive orders that the president can make without congressional approval, Biden said.

[Updated at 11:53 a.m. ET] Vice President Joe Biden has begun the event with an acknowledgement of the December massacre at a Connecticut elementary school, where 20 children and six women were killed. "It's been 33 days since (the nation's heart) has been broken" by the Newtown shooting, he said.

He's also addressing the Newtown victims' relatives who are attending the White House announcement.

[Initial post, 11:38 a.m. ET] The moment for President Barack Obama to announce his gun-control proposals is about to arrive.

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are expected to unveil around 11:55 a.m. ET gun control proposals that, according to a source, will include background checks on all gun sales, a ban on assault weapons, and a ban on gun magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds.

This post will have details on Obama's proposals as they are announced. Check this page starting just before noon ET, and refresh often for updates.

The announcement at the White House comes after Biden led a task force to make gun-control proposals, partly in response to a December 14 shooting that killed 20 children and six women at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

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soundoff (1,548 Responses)
  1. sadman747

    WOW, you should be ashamed of yourself. but, i'm guessing your not. your idealology is the problem with this country right now. You think DEMS are any better. did you watch them let us stand on the fiscal cliff? then after that all the parties gave themselves a raise. it comes from your pocket as well. unless your part of the 91M getting some sort of assistance. then you would care!

    January 16, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. TLB

    Better gun safety technologies....

    Has anyone looked into adding a biometric safety feature to guns? Something like a fingerprint scanner on the trigger that only works when the registered user of the gun has his finger on it. Might seem far-fetched, but worth looking into.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Roadrunner

      Hmm.. did you get that Idea from Skyfall?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • k

      It already exists. It would just raise the price of the gun and would make it impossible for anyone else to use it. For example you couldn't teach your spouse or kids how to shoot with that gun.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Becemy

      It just means that a criminal will steal your gun AND cut off your finger.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. More Gun Control

    This just shows that it's better to have safety than freedom.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • DC1973

      What freedom was taken away with these orders? Hm? Answer me that.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • jnpa

      You are suddenly missing freedoms? I haven't seen anyone's freedoms being taken away!

      January 16, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Concerned

      Umm, what safety?? So did all guns just magically go away?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Liss

    "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."
    -Ben Franklin

    January 16, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Letstalkfacts

      Did you read the executive orders? Anything there about giving up liberty? If so, where?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BobJones

    Magazine and black rifle bans never reduce crime. Ever. More proof that results are not important to democrats and bed wetting liberals.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • cnnife

      It doesn't matter where the president comes from, he said it all when he stated "the only way we can change is if the American people demand it. " If passing/enforcing scrit laws is what the american people want as the poll is currently showing, where someone comes from becomes totally irrelivant.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Concerned

    This is stupid! Nothing but political grandstanding to give the appearance of change. Not one of these changes will make schools safer. Not one. You can still walk right in the front door of schools with whatever weapons you want, and it will still take police minutes to respond. But it costs too much money to replace the glass doors, install locks or anything to slow down the shooter. The answer to the problem costs money which appears to be more important than children's lives. Our "leaders" would rather spew rhetoric than invest money in increasing school security. It's a sin that our leaders are not concerned with basic security. It is even more of a sin that the public allows politicians to get away with lies and deception. The bad guys can still get guns, legal or illegal. Maybe we should worry more about what we can control like delaying the shooter access to children?

    January 16, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jaba017

      Absolutely, instead of wasting law enforcement resources to bust some dude with a marijuana joint, give parking tickets, or traffic citations those resources should be put to making society safer and going after bad guys. But it is a lot easier to go after harmless people and the Government loves spending the money that comes from fines and citations.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bill

    Is he going to investigate the guns found at crime scenes in Mexico where his Admin let the guns "walk"?

    January 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. the_dude

    Hitler liked to use children in his photo ops as well....

    January 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. christopher reid

    CNN should send someone to Galt.This is a man who put on a law enforcement uniform to serve and protect citizens in his community. All across America there are men and women like this who face gun violence at times and are armed to take of us. Start in Galt this would put a person behind that badge behind that uniform behind that gun that is used to carry out the law.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Tyrone

    I agree. The 2nd Amendment should be changed to narrow down what type of weapons citizes can carry. No matter if you consider yourself a good gun owner, everyone should not be allowed to own any type of weapon. Stop thinking about yourself and think about people around you.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bill

      Tyrone, it has been narrowed down. We can own the same rifles the military uses because in the end, the 2nd Amendment is to protect us from our government. Don't like it? Repeal the 2A. It only takes ratification by 38 states.
      Good luck.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ding

    Wouldn't more people have reported such a thing or reported a thing now. It's not like there weren't many news stations there at the time. They were all working together to hide this fact? It's not like we've seen video of the mall shooting, the movie theater shooting, etc. I know there are camera systems in those type of places...

    January 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. BobJones

    With freedom comes responsibility ... of government to ban things that scare bed wetting liberals.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Jaba017

    No surprsies here, the do nothing in chief does something and it amounts to nothing. I hope the idiots who elected Obama are placated. The Second Amendment provides 'SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED." So all you liberal gun grabbers get back to work we all have welfare hordes to support.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Alejandro

    President Obama just blinked. He & Axelrod have spent the last few weeks looking at the polling on gun control. He tasked the mighty Joe Biden to come up with proposals and he even consulted with school children all he came up with was alot of nothing.

    Liberals wanted Obama to Ban "Assault" rifles, so-called high capacity mags, & ammo via executive order. Instead he does almost nothing.

    The reality is that even democrats want to be able to protect themselves. In places like Chicago, Detroit, Washington D.C., or anywhere else the 2nd amendment applies. Even Obama supporters do not want to be a crime statistic.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Letstalkfacts

      Geez you really need to read up – he can't sign executive orders to ban anything – he has asked the legislature to do so

      January 16, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. SF

    Well one thing is sure, all semi-autos and mags over 10 are sold out at this point across the nation so we got one hell of a sales boost for the economy, thanks Obama

    January 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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