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.

Details emerge on gun control proposal

NRA: Obama an ‘elitist hypocrite’

Opinion: No, hypocrisy is at the NRA

Oregon sheriff: 'Unconstitutional' gun control laws won't be enforced

GOP senator vows to fight ‘king’ Obama

soundoff (1,548 Responses)
  1. smtex

    can we make crazy people illegal?

    January 16, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • platypusfriend

      Maybe by executive order.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • threeravensconsulting

      If it were only that easy...

      January 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sparky1011

    A state in which only the police have guns is, if not yet, periously close to becoming a police state. Such a state only remains free so long as men of good will govern it. Disarming the populace should terrify both the left and the right.
    The second amendment was not included to secure our right to hunt, but to secure our freedoms.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cass

      There were no fully automatic military style assault weapons when the 2nd amendment was written. I’m all for the 2nd amendment but weapons of this caliber are NOT necessary.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      No one is proposing a complete ban on guns. Just certain types

      January 16, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • one against a million

      How can you make an arguement that the average american needs a high caliber weapon

      January 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • J.W.

      @ one against a million.... limiting what type of gun one owns is akin to limiting the options one may buy on an automobile, EXCEPT, the guns are actually protected by the 2nd amendment, cars are not.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • dewey

      "Disarming the populace should terrify both the left and the right." No the left can read and realize he didn't ban every gun ever.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • TFullerman

      I am a gun owner. Some are for sport and others primarily for home protection.

      The vast majority of the people who are advocates of no limitations on assault weapons have never killed a human being with their weapon nor seen someone killed by one. The rationale for needing a 30+ clip is a hypothesis combined with false bravado.

      Between 1994-and 2004, the option to legally purchase a 30+ clip did not exist. For ten years what did you do if you wanted to shoot more rounds? Reload. If you were a criminal on a shooting spree, this "pause" presents an opportunity to neutralize the threat sooner.

      I don't see how this is unreasonable.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rookie

      Please, do look both sides; before complaining, President did NOT ban on all guns.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • PISTOL / SHOTGUN / BOLT ACTION RIFLES WITH GUN SAFE ONLY!

      Oh Grow up you fear mongering, conspiracy theorist freak of nature! 2ND amendment gives U.S> citizens the right to bear arms ( Pistols, Shotguns and bolt action rifles! ). Only REAL hunter sportsman use bolt action or Bow / Arrows for hunting deer and whatnot. You know this! So stop playing to the fears and delusional psychotic nutjobs srying " the government is after me! BLAH BLAH BLAH!,, The government ALLOWED YOU HAVE THESE WEAPONS RIGHT? Well then, if the public can't seem to control their responsibly purchasd ASSAULT rifles then RE-INSTATE the 1994-2004 ban + additional measures! No ones coming to take ALL YOUR WEAPONS! THE WORLD DID NOT END 12/21/2012 AND THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT OUT TO GET YOU YOU PARANOID FREAK!

      January 16, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • SUNDEV

      @ J.W the second ammendment does not say you have the right to bear any arm. There are already banns on fully automatic wepons. Not sure where you where going with that.

      @Sparky need to take your self to school and do your homework

      January 16, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grmlin

      No we didn't have semi-automatic weapons when the amendments were introduced, but the average farmer had the same weapon any body serving in the military at that time had and it was usually their personal firearm. It takes a lot of paperwork for a civilian to purchase/own an automatic weapon, what we own are sporting rifles. Most of these AR-15's are in .223 which is a varmint round used for coyote, groundhogs, and other small critters. Larger game rounds are much more powerful and at greater distances. If the 2d Amendment falls they all fall. We didn't have telephones or computers then either so by your reasoning your 1st Amendment rights are protected when you use them, are they? It won't happen here this is America, I bet they said that in Germany shortly before WW II. Give up your rights if you want to but leave mine alone.

      January 16, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Robert

    If Biden shakes his head yes one more time I'm going to throw up.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Robert

    Wow, how did he just say that with a straight face?

    I'm at a loss.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. jason

    We are watching freedom die right now :(

    January 16, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • one against a million

      Freedom come with responsibilites. We are watching a president who is trying to make children more safe and you are more worried about your guns.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • DCH

      What freedoms would that be? The right to purchase giant guns to take out as many people as fast as you can? Do you really need that? We just watched a crazed maniac murder 27 people and you are sitting there complaining about your guns! Why don't you go explain your point of view to the people that just lost their 6 year old child.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • donttreadonme

      freedom dies alittle more any president oversteps his authority. Executive orders do just that.

      if they come from the gun (they meaning any governement) there will be more then a resistence.

      rattle snakes rattle first.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • superbole

      Wow Jason... so you want mentally ill patients to have the same right to own and use guns as the rest of us?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • yeahright

      Hyperbole much?

      January 17, 2013 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  6. mike hunt

    whats more important? Ill tell you what is more important, freedom.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. ericfreerock

    Obama can take his ban and shove it where the sun down shine.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. ericfreerock

    Obama is doing a lot of grave dancing.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Robert

    Come and take it. I dare you.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • moose2823

      If they want your gun, they'll hit your house with a drone, or gas you out. Then they'll finally come in and pull it off your charred corpse. Sry ppl, but guns aren't capable of protecting you from an oppressive and highly funded government military anymore. This aint the british circa 1780

      January 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Where does it say they are taking your gun?

      January 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • DMA

      Moose, I was in the military, If I was ordered to conduct a drone attack on our own people, I would still be in the brig. You seem to think that all the other men and women in the armed forces is willing to take up a fight against their family and friends. You are pretty dillusional!

      January 16, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. No U

    "unalienable rights.... but... "

    January 16, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. WhosIsSpeakingForTheUnborn

    Why do the unborn not get the same rights to life and liberty? What a hypicritical country we have!

    January 16, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nikki

      Because they are UNBORN. And in our country, until you reach the birthing canal, you are not considered a person so therefore you can not give it rights.

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

      Nikki, that is, unless you kill a pregnant woman, then you'll be charged with 2 murders.

      January 16, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Xiccarph

    Ah, all hail His Royal Highness...pay heed to these new Royal Decrees and Obey!
    I wonder if one of his EOs is to abolish Congress? That's what wannabe dictators do, isn't it?

    January 16, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Gregory Faith

    The kids will not be forgotten..........And what about the boys mother? Where is she in all of this? Forgotten

    January 16, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. mike hunt

    if we can save just one life, we should ban the number one killer, cars.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • WhosIsSpeakingForTheUnborn

      How about Planned Parenthood!

      January 16, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sparky1011

      We should make murder illegal as well, so long as the criminals are following laws.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • superbole

      Hey mike hunt... nice overreach. Irrelevant much?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edgar

      So you don't need a gun, right, Mike Hunt? Since you can just get a car. And since, according to your argument, cars and guns are basically the same?

      January 16, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. smtex

    so all the guns that are already sold are now not harmful bc of this new proposal. whew. thats good to know.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • bEAR

      Too bad the NRA's millions of dollars made it impossible to reinstate, or keep the previous ban in effect. We would have had almost 20 years of cleaning out America of the unnecessary weaponry behind us at this point. Oh well.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
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