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. Mark L

    Wow, carpet bomb the entire city to get a few bad guys.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Brian

    People are always screaming "get rid of the guns get rid of the guns. How can a m-16/4 be a sporting weapon?" Then they take a reporter, and take him to a shooting range to prove how easy and quick it is to shoot; BUT they never seem to ask that reporter was it fun? I wonder why?

    January 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • SF

      ha, agree fully, nothing beats a day at the range, sorry anti-gunners but its true.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. G0d

    Obama should just point out that Nazis invented the types of guns he's banning and encourage Americans to read up on the type of gun ban he actually implemented today and the ontology of these types of weapons damnit.. Stop freaking out.. we're just de-Nazi-izing our country not infringing on rights AT ALL as were imagined by forefather's and contemporary weapons capabilities of their time long before Hitler.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. coltdefender45

    Everything Obama has stated makes sense: EXCEPT:

    – 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 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      Since those two things haven't happened yet (and probably won't, since they would require Congress to actually do something), then everything he said today made sense.

      Thank you.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • bdass4449

      These 2 things make the most sense! How else are you going to even have a chance of keeping them out of the hands of criminals and the crazy people hell bent on killing as many people as they can before they either kill themselves or someone else kills them???

      January 16, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chris Adams

    So I would never vote for Hitler. O I mean Obama! This is just another right he is trying to take away. I have kids that know how to use a gun safely and they would not ever shoot someone just because. I think we need to be worried about the mental health of the people buying guns not the guns that are available. The gun does not shoot itself!!!!

    January 16, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      NO

      RIGHTS

      WERE

      TAKEN

      AWAY

      January 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • bdass4449

      What is he taking away? Assault weapons? How many time has an assault weapon been used by a homeowner to defend his home and family? The only time you hear about them is when some crazy uses them to kill innocent kids? No one wants to take your hand guns and hunting rifles.. you guys are like a bunch of little babies that someone has taken away their candy!

      January 16, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chooch0253

      Did you even read this article or the list of EO'S? If you did, you most certainly should not be within a mile of any firearm. Reading comprehension is not your strong suit or you did not even read the list of the EO's. No fire-arms are banned by any of the EO's. Mental Health is addressed in at least three of the EO's. You are one of the simple minded fools that will oppose anything this President attempts to do.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Most of this is in the Brady Bill, this just gives access to records on the mentally ill.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jodie

      So, you can guarantee that your kids will never have a mental health issue? Or ever come into contact with anyone with mental health problems? I wish I had your ability to see the future. But they are now trained killing machines, so too late to turn back the clock. I really, really hope they stay mentally stable.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Danielt

    sonds alot like something hitler did.... Remove arms from his citizens.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Greg

    Dont really understand the over reaction from the far right on the executive orders... aside from the number of orders there dosent seem to be much substance there.

    As for the proposed legislation, ban on high capacity magazies and universal background checks seems like a reasonable thing to do. Ban on assault weapons dosent. How do you define assault weapon? Theyre all made to assault one thing or another. (Deer, rabbit, paper target, human being)

    January 16, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      It's crazy, isn't it? It's like they were told that the president would ban all guns everywhere from everyone ever, and they didn't bother to stop and see if he actually did it before their brains exploded all over their keyboards.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • lancewhite00437

      How would a universal background check have stopped Sandy Hook? The kid stole his mothers gun, which she had purchased legally under Connecticut's very restrictive gun laws. Hs for "high capacity magazines" (whatever the hell that means") how would that have stopped Sandy Hook? The kid not only had the rifle, but was carrying two pistols with multiple clips. Do you know how fast one can change out a magazine or clip? It took 20 minutes for police to respond to Sandy Hook. Even if the kid had a magazine with only 7 bullet capacity, all he needed was multiple magazines, and the time to change them out. Which he had before the police arrived.
      How are background checks going to stop the weekly killing of children in Chicago?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • bEAR

      The literal translation of assault is "to take by storm", sounds to me like something everyone should have in their closet.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Lance, thanks for responding civilly. I am not certain that universal background checks would have stopped Sandy Hook but I do think the idea has merit. It defeats the purpose of background checks if I can buy a gun legally and then sell it, knowing or unknowingly, to someone that isn’t supposed to own a firearm (felon, mental patient, etc). I’ll admit that it’s a PITA but it doesn’t really infringe on a law abiding citizen’s right to own firearms… it just closes a loophole that criminals can exploit. Will it stop all criminals from getting firearms? No. Will it stop some? Yes.

      As far as high capacity magazines go… I do think that this could help in mass shooting scenarios. A few seconds is a long time when you’re running away from or trying to stop someone with a gun. If there happens to be a CCW permit holder at a mass shooting, a lull in the shooting is a perfect time for them to act, isn’t it?

      January 16, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. slumpbust3r

    where's our presidents passion and drive in regards to finding a solution for the millions of americans tha are jobless? why isn't he focusing on that situation. he is a celebrity more than a president, get your priorities in order

    January 16, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Legal Owner

    How does this get guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill ? Why should responsible gun owners be punished ? Why does CNN always feel like it takes the side of banning assault weapons & high capacity magazines ?
    They should present both view without bias !

    How many people have died in drunk driving accidents ? We don't ban alcohol... Maybe that's next ....

    I've never voiced my opinion before but now I feel compelled to speak out...

    January 16, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Name

    Judaism
    The TeNaCh
    Synagogue
    Rabbi
    Jerusalem
    Sabbath-a day without work to honer god it last from Friday evening to Saturday evening.

    Passover-celebrates the freeing   Of the isralights from anigent  Egypt.

    Hanukkah- An 8 day long celebration of the  jewish victory over syrain-Greece in B.C.E.

    Mezuzah
    Tzitzit and tallit
    Tefillin
    Menorah
    Yarmulke
    Magen David
    Chai
    Hanesin hand
    Abraham founded judasim in israel in 1815.
    12 million
    Jews have one god called god but they write it G_d.
    There are three branches of Judaism orthodox, reform, and conservative. Orthodox are the most traditional, reform are more legint and conservative are the most relaxed.
    Jews belive that if you are a good person then good things will happen to you. They also believe that because you have free will you are born without sin and could never sin in your life if you really tried.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. conoclast

    Question: What's the difference between: a> An NRA assault-weapon ghoul, b> A modern-day "christian", and c> A House tea-party caucus member?
    Answer: Absolutely none; they are the SAME PEOPLE!

    January 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. nearmsp

    I have a problem with the memo point 4. Who knows what the definition of a "dangerous" person is going to be? A tea party member, a person who has visited Pakistan, a person who lives in the country side and is an NRA member? A person who is a member of a militia or just any Muslim? The NRA should sue the federal government immediately.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • livingston

      That right, we should do nothing. Because that has worked so we for us so far. Good grief, paranoid much?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jnpa

    @Danielt – Obama took your guns away? I guess I missed that! Can you point out exactly where in his address he did that?

    January 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ykuos

    Interesting – the Newtown murderer wasn't a licensed gun owner. The gangs in Philly and Chicago that keep the murder rates high aren't legal gun owners either. Remind me again – who voted for this bonehead?

    January 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Arsh

    Well none of these actions accomplished anything except making him look like he's doing something. the only thing he did was take executive action to basically close a loophole and enforce a law on background checks that's been around forever. no pro gun supporter has opposed the idea of closing the loophole, just don't tell me what i can or can't own.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
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