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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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. cboy

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

    I don't see how it's my physicians business if there is a gun in my home...or my optometrist for that matter.

    It doesn't specify which doctors can ask about guns in their homes...just that doctors may ask. I understand if it were a Psychologist or Psychiatrist but beyond a mental doc, I don't see how it's relevant.

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

      The law abiding citizens register their guns so the government should already know you have them. It's those that aren't law abiding that do not register and therefore will not answer truthfully when asked by anyone in any profession if they own a gun. Hence, additional laws aimed at the law abiding citizen and not those willing and committed to breaking the law.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BobJones

    Obama knows where his bread is buttered. No mention of Hollywood violence. He is a hypocrite with blood on his hands.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Christine

    Ok, so I voted for Obama and would like to see real changes in gun control. But almost none of thses would have affected the Sandy Hook shootings. Looks like a bunch of hot air and rather pointless.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      His psychiatrist would have been able to alert the authorities (if he/she knew in advance of the impending psychotic break) that a potentially dangerous, mentally ill person had access to a large amount of firearms. If he ever made a direct threat to anyone, the psychiatrist could have told them that, too.

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

      He is limited to what he can do by executive order. Anything substantial will require cooperation from congress so don't hold your breath.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      The sad thing is this about all he CAN do. We need much more change in this country to curb gun violence, but there are too many idiots who love to "exercise their 2nd Amendment rights". I think he's doing the best he can, and banning assault weapons and magazines over 10 rounds is a step in the right direction. There is no reason that anyone needs a weapon of this caliber.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. deputy sheriff

    Wow, what a waste of time, he did nothing!

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

      Deputy Fife, I presume?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • jnpa

      What was he supposed to do?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lanre

    What about a mental check up of someone who want to obtain a gun and everybody in his/her household. They should provide a mental check up result of everyone living in the house including the buyer before they can purchase one.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. IRONMIKE

    DOES NOTHING EXCEPT GET THE PRESIDENT PRESS MAYBE HE COULD MOVE IN WITH PEIRS MORGAN AND THEN THEY COULD GOT BACK TO ENGLAND IF THE USA IS TO WILD FOR MR MORGAN WHY IS HERE DOES HE HAVE A GREEN CARD?

    January 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. BobJones

    If the NRA had donated as much to Obama as Hollywood, this would not be an issue.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      Three of the Orders came directly from Loony LaPierre.

      You have a problem with them, take it up with him.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. snuffy1972

    Check Chicago's crime stats. How are all of those gun control laws working out there? Only empowering criminals.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. cen

    6 years without a leader of the ATF?? I can't believe I voted for Obama

    January 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jaba017

      Or how about 1 in every 1,000 gun criminals actually being prosecuted. How's that stat make you feel about your President. This is a do nothing President asking for more laws when he doesn't or can't enforce the current ones.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      I'm pretty sure the president neither arrests nor prosecutes people.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • rdj1066

      Yep, Obama. No ATF leader for 6 years and it's all Obama's fault...nevermind the fact that he has only been in office for 4 years and that all appointments need to be confirmed by Congress. But yeah, all Obama's fault.

      January 16, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. GOP = Greed Over People (party)

    People in here cant read...show us where obama said. He was going to take your gun away?

    January 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patriot

      Right here Butt-head

      [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

      January 16, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      Hey, Patriot?

      He told Congress that he wants them to consider it. They won't, because they don't have the b4lls for it.

      "Hey, guys, you should maybe think about this," =/= "I'M TAKING YOUR GUNS! ALL OF THEM! NOW! THEY'RE MINE!"

      Egads.

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

      I think a lot of commentors on here expected him to violate his powers and create laws that would label him a dictator. He did not and could not do that, so many are disappointed they cannot bash him anymore than they already have, but they are still calling him names like "Hitler"! They wanted him to take their guns away so they could continue to press the anti-Obama sentiment even more!

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

    It's totally wrong for a health care provider to be allowed to ask if you have a firearm in your home, actually, it's even in the Obama Care bill that they can not.

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

      Try again. If you read the actual ObamaCare bill over at opensenate.org, it has absolutely no limitations on asking about guns in the home. And remember, just because they ask doesn't mean you have to tell them.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jim

    Our government fears us. Mission Accomplished

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

    1. Use money from politicians pensions to pay for better security at schools.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Hamsta

    Pick up a history book and you will learn that Obama is more of a NeoNazi than that rwdneck white supremacist skinhead is.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • conoclast

      OK, I picked one up-not too heavy. Now do I have to read it too?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Robert

    Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes."
    so everyone has to tell their Doctor what guns you have

    January 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
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