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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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. dahimm

    Great idea, Executive Action #18: encouraging schools to hire [armed] school resource officers. This would actually have a positive impact.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bEAR

    If your so concerned go out there and do something about it. You can actually try compromising (far stretch, I know). Our second amendment states that we have the right to own guns in order to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government. I believe most citizens would agree that this is true and it is our right. However, do they need to be kept in our homes? We can create community gun banks, most likely assembled by the town, yet run by the public, protected by those whose weapons are inside. This would be a great compromise. Firearms would be stored safely and protected by the public until such a time may arise where it may be necessary to use them. It could be something that is free to the public, mostly run by volunteers. This way people can feel safe because they know that the weapons are stored correctly and also because they know that they are there and available in case of emergency.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. superbole

    Obama has NOT trampled on 2ndA rights as some hysterical voices may lead you to believe. He has LISTENED to concerned Americans and acted accordingly. If there is a dangerously dictatorial character in this current drama, it is the NRA and political opportunists who are stamping their feet because they're not getting their way.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mark

    Lets get the definitions straight, Assault rifles are already illegal. Only MIL, or LE can obtain them. Executive order is overreaching, who's running this country the people or the whitehouse?

    January 16, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      An Executive Order that does exactly what Executive Orders are intended to do, and makes it easier to enforce existing laws, is overreaching?

      Oh, I've gotta hear this one. How?

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

      An executive order stating that they intend to enforce laws that are already on the books is completely worthless. This is just politics as usual. It is there so obama can claim he did something other than just agreeing with the NRA.

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

      Did you actually read this article or are you just shadow boxing with yourself?

      January 16, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fudpuckerynot

      Mark: I appreciate your sentiment, but, one clarification. I CAN buy and possess(at this moment) a fully automatic m-16, UZI, etc. if I pay a tax and keep it in accordance with BATF rules. Several friends of mine have them legally!

      January 16, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Houkoten

    Almost all of those items should have been occuring already at the state or local levels. The director should have been appointed regardless of other legislation present. 3 of the items listed will cost more money from the budget and have negligable difference in the big picture.

    So it is a collective yawn of things aside for removing the medical excuses to not report people potentially dangerous, but only after ACA goes into effect. I'd say this was the more predictable route of appearing to do something, but not really do anything yet NRA folks froth at the mouth still thinking their guns will be repossessed by the boogey man.

    Wake me up when things change at the manufacturing to distribution levels along with how people are treated medically and how those records are shared similar to government agencies under the patriot act.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Nick

    Thank heaven I live in a sane state that is passing a bill that will make this presidents EO unenforceable in Wyoming. HB104 more states should follow suit.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      Oh, hey, yeah, that's awesome!

      You live in a state that's spending taxpayer money to pass a law to prevent the president from doing something he's not doing.

      I think your definition of "sane" is a bit different from mine.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      Thank God you don't live here then.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • superbole

      LOL... so, a Wyoming firearm manufacturer can produce fully automatic firearms and sell them to Wyoming residents without filing paperwork with the ATF. Problem is, until the courts clear this up, owning an unregistered fully automatic firearm will still most likely get you tossed in prison for a long time. On a positive note, your name will end up as a plaintiff when the case goes to the Supreme Court. Good luck with that...

      January 16, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. GunOwner

    Well, now...just which other amendments should we have you, in your infinite wisdom, declare old and obsolete?
    Perhaps you would like the 1st amendment declared old and obsolete...at least the we wouldn't have to listen to such
    drivel from you.

    Or perhaps the 4th...then the government could just come in your home anytime they felt like it..that sure seems an old and obsolete law...after all, I'm sure that you trust the government completely and think that they always server your best interests.

    Maybe you would like to see the 13th repealed...it was added a long time ago...besides, what's wrong with slavery anyway?

    I don't know if you are male of female, but let's get rid of that pesky 19th amendment..it's old and obsolete, too...women should know their place, and it certainly isn't in the ballot box. And while we're at it, the 26th can go...those darn 18 ear-olds shouldn't vote, either.

    Aw, what the heck...why don't you just run for dictator....

    January 16, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • MacInBlack1970

      You mean a dictatorship like the right side of congress John Bonehead Bhoener and Eric Cantor and B1tch McConnell? Grow up you conspiracy nutjob! THE WORLD DID NOT END on 12/21/2012 !! AND THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT OUT TO GET YOU!!! GROW UP!

      January 16, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • superbole

      You know that paranoia is unreasoned fear of persecution?

      January 16, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Paita

    Really,,Obama needs to wake -up here,hello????Life,Liberty,and the pursuit of happyness,well those rights were taken away about 40 years ago when the riches' salaryies sky rocketed to 11 milion for taking all our jobs over seas,and the working class wagesl never moved..When over 4 milion people lost there homes,so the rich could get richer,isnt owning a home part of that happyness clause,isn't the right to go to a doctor w/out losing your home,yourjob,part of that happynes,liberty???Not for the working poor which is about 70 percent of the country..Yea he has completely lost touch from where he came from for sure.Life,liberty and happynees has been exterminated,just like the middle class,long ago,,,paita

    January 16, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Christopher Messick

    I have a feeling since all of this, we are going to see more gun violence then before.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • bEAR

      it's disgusting, but i wouldn't doubt it in the slightest

      January 16, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob Robertson

      Every time firearms are made less illegal, crime drops. Violent crime in American is HALF what it was in 1990, while CCW has spread nation wide and women are one of the fastest growing demographics in terms of firearms ownership.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. DLinLA

    The same way all Presidents before him did...

    Why do you pretend that Obama is the only president in history to use Executive Orders?

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

      isn't it ridiculous? there have been thousands of executive orders set in place

      January 16, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. chuck Flaherty

    I like number 4. The Attorney General is going to determine who can own a gun. The same guy who gave the guns for the cartel. What a joke

    January 16, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MacInBlack1970

    TO ALL YOU GUN CARZIES! !!!!

    most followers are "inclined to believe the government is out to get them" and is collaborating with the media. "They have this confirmation bias, as psychologists call it, to look for only evidence that supports their theories and disregard anything that says otherwise," he says.

    GROW UP!

    The GOVERNMENT THAT ALLOWED YOU TO HAVE YOUR WEAPONS IN THE FIRST PLACE IS NOT COMING AFTER YOU!!! YOU PEOPLE HAVE PROVEN , LIKE A LITTLE CHILD, THAT YOU CAN NOT RESPONSIBLY GAIN ACCESS OR PROPERLY STORED AWAY INTO A GUN SAFE! THEREFORE YOU RUINED IT FOR YOURSELF! CHERISH THE MEMORIES! YES YOU CAN KEEP YOUR PISTOLS , SHOTGUNS and BOLT ACTION RIFLES!!!!!!!!!!

    RE-INSTATE 1994-2004 ASSAULT RIFLE BAN!!! + OVERSIGHT! NOT THE END OF THE WORLD U TWITS!

    January 16, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • jfabr1

      I love how you are telling people to "grow up" but yet it's you calling people names like "twit" and "bonehead"...amusing but hard to take you serious. A little hypocritical much like Mr. Obama and his objectives.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob Robertson

      "The GOVERNMENT THAT ALLOWED YOU TO HAVE YOUR WEAPONS IN THE FIRST PLACE"

      You demonstrate a revolting lack of knowledge of history, or reading ability, if you think the govt "grants" anyone the right to bear arms.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Myto Senseworth

      Please read about The Battle of Athens 1946 and get back with us please.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Concerned

    All smoke and mirrors. Obama looks like he did something, nothing more. Even worse, removing guns won't make schools safer. The problem is that we won't invest in security at schools so anyone with any gun can still do bad things.

    But gun control does get media coverage and face time with little kids. A perfect political prop and it didn't cost any money or actual action.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • superbole

      It is a bit of a tempest in a teapot, isn't it?

      January 16, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Nick

    DC1973 did not invite you to come here to our state we will spend the money any way we please. I feel flipping the bird to the pres is the best thing we could do.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • bEAR

      well, you know, if you feel so strongly about it you can actually go out an do something about it.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sport99

    It's very interesting how the NRA which represents 4.5 million people can dictate to the rest of us 300 million people that their so called right to own a gun is more important than my right to be safe.
    We make people get a lisence to drive, by writing a test for your beginners and then a driving test to ensure public safety and your safety. Yet, there are no such rules to own a lethal weapon which can end yours or someone life instantly with the pull of a trigger. Very interesting indeed!

    January 16, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Myto Senseworth

      Please read about "The Battle of Athens 1946"

      January 16, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
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