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. Tom Brembeck

    Isn't that how so many dictators started out, surrounding themselves with the nations children?

    January 16, 2013 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Tiggy

      How many ways we fail to protect our children, healthcare, education, debt, chemicals in food and water yet we hold them as a flag for gun control. What gun control will accomplish is a rise in the use of other weapons like bombs and grenades.

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

      or simply driving their car into a crowd...or plane into a building.

      January 17, 2013 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Center for Disease Control studies indicate gun control measures do not work to limit gun violence. Best bet is back ground checks to restrict criminals and mentally ill from legally purchasing weapons, but I suppose instead they will buy them illegally, or make a bomb.
      Where there is a will there is a way.

      January 17, 2013 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
  2. Cassie Cline

    Why is it not ok for the NRA to use Obama's kids to be put in the middle of politics, but the President is using kids that wrote to him today in his Gun control package? Seems pot calling the kettle black?

    January 16, 2013 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Net exactly.

      What is the proportion of presidents shot/killed in office, verses those not?
      What is the proportion of students shot/killed in schools, versus those not.

      Now that it's harder to get to the president, who will they target next? His kids.

      Sad as it is, his kids need protection more than others.

      Now consider the nature of those carrying the guns – well trained professionals (the secret service) vs...
      Amateurs (if teachers/staff are generally allowed to carry)
      Trained (if only those with previous military/law enforcement are allowed to carry, not a guaranteed to have these at every school)
      Trained (professional hired security... who's going to pay for this).

      I'm not saying that gun control is the answer, it isn't, but the NRA, as usual is massively twisting and distorting the facts to suit their agenda, which has moved more towards the fulfilment of some paranoid delisionals and closet psychopaths, than the defense of the American people by promoting the rightful and responsible ownership of firearms.

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

      George W Bush's kids had a secret service detail as well, but yet we had terroist attacks when there were stricter gun laws in place in regards to "assault weapons", and no armed guards in school......just fan that fear. It's standard practice for the Presiden's children to have security (unfortunately). I don't see how the NRA's ad holds any water in the real world.

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

      Excellent point! Let's drag the kids out when it serves a purpose for Oblablah.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Paul

    It is about time someone puts the NRA in their place. All they stand for is death.

    January 16, 2013 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Really? This is coming from Obama.... Who worked out of Chicago. The murder Capitol of the United States. And yet he just now has something against guns? Anyone who falls into these guys is a sheep in every possible way. The city he came into presidency from is the icon for murder and gun violence, and yet he is going to sit here and claim he cares. People need to open their eyes.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Letstalkfacts

      Anyone that says "sheep" should learn a new word.....

      January 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • fiftyfive55

      ...and to top it off,he aint even from Chicago , it is NOT his home town.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • BP

      Despite how a person feels about gun control, they can't deny the truth about Obama.

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

      All ya'll got it all wrong. Chicago is not the muder Capitol of America. First, get your facts straight and then talk. Louisiana is!

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

      Mark do research Chicago, has a gun ban in place nothing to do with Obama caring about guns now. FYI gang bangers will always get guns regardless if they are banned or not. I am sure Obama is fully in tune with that as well

      January 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tomman212

      The county I live in was ranked number one for the highest violent crime rate out of the entire US, Richland County in South Carolina. Very surprising in comparison to other bigger counties in other states.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • tkinil

      Obama comes from the worst murder rate city in the country. Who exactly do you think it is that stands behind him in that city? Think about it, carefully. This is nothing more than lip service and they know it.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • tpobrienjr

      1. New Orleans 58 per 100,000; 2. Detroit 48 per 100,000; 3. St. Louis 36 per 100,000; 4. Baltimore 31 per 100,000.
      Check your facts, don't just make it up. Leave that to Rush, O'Reilly, etc.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick from L.A.

      Gang bangers get the majority of their guns from house burglaries. If the those guns could not be owned by private citizens, then gang bangers can not get their hands on them. The gang in my neighborhood broke into a house of a guy that owned many assault weapons. That dutiful citizen armed one of the most vicious street gangs on America.

      January 16, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sparky1011

    We are about to witness the biggest power grab since the passage of the Patriot Act

    January 16, 2013 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • None

      Yup. Its all down here from here Sparky.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick from L.A.

      The end is nigh, flee to Canada... oh wait their have ultra strick guns laws.

      January 16, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. No U

    Oh good the young props have been seated. . .

    So we start out by trying to make an emotional appeal. Don't let the audience THINK LOGICALLY... that would be bad.

    January 16, 2013 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • tkinil

      It's his only chance and he knows it.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • rodriguezry

      yea because no other president has given a speech with children seated next to him

      January 16, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • No U

      rodriguezry – We aren't talking about other presidents. . .

      January 16, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • TimL

      you guys just hate as yo did the first term that a black man is in office. get over it, if it was mitt in there you would all be giving high 5's

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

      And we watched Bush and Chaney artificially inflate the terror levels during the 2004 election.....what's your point. Welcome to politics.

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

      Hey Tim-I don't care if he's red, black, yellow, purple or blue-he's a bad president period. Not a bad black president, just a bad president. Gotta pull out that race card don't ya????

      January 16, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. No U

    Using kids and victims in every sentence to destroy freedom.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bob Hope's Ghost

    Once this gun grab goes into effect. you liberals will be next on the agenda of removing you from the gov't teets of welfare.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Canada

      lol. Is any body hearing this? just wow..... Good luck! – From Canada

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

      Thank GOD for Canada! I grew up in Malvern (a part of Toronto) which had the highest number of gun related crimes. Practically every single house and car was broken into but not any of ours and we've never owned a gun – just a big dog. Here's a secret – the gang underworld has a rule not to kill taxpaying honest citizens since they'll have to deal with more police action in their areas.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Colin Smith

    Great, this is going to go downhill fast.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. tkinil

    He denounces the NRA's commercial for using children in their ad yet look at him and what he's doing now. Exploiting children to further his political agenda here is the exact same thing. Hypocrite.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • No U


      January 16, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick from L.A.

      Yeah how dare he try to reassure those terrified kids that we doing everything to protect them.

      January 16, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. No U

    23 EOs? Holy hell.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Gregory Faith

    Here we gooooo................

    January 16, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Robert

    We will not have 20,023 gun laws. What's wrong with this picture? O, that's right the 20,000 are not being in-forced.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mark

    Lets not forget everyone. Obama is someone who came out of Chicago, the murder capital of the United States. I guess we can raise another discussion. Why does he just now address guns? Coming out of Chicago, he didn't feel that was an issue that needed to "change" before? He is a fraud, and I am amazed about how blind people are to him as a person. He will only address issues that make him look good for the time being. Once that has passed, he will throw it to the side. Going green is probably one of the best examples.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan

      Chicago, with one of the biggest gun control laws in the country, yet one of the most dangerous crime zones in the country, mostly by gun violence. Laws work huh?

      January 16, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick from L.A.

      Um, driving to another state and picking up weapons at a gun show then driving back. That how guns got into chicago. Ban Assault weapon in all of the US an you fixed most of the proliferation problems.

      January 16, 2013 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Angela

      Rick – You're an ignorant twit. You obviously have no clue what it is you're talking about. You CANNOT purchase a gun from another state and go back home. It's called an ID check, and a BACKGROUND check (I know, crazy right?!) I am a resident of FL, which means I can only purchase guns in, you guessed it, FL. I can't drive over to AL, LA, MS, GA, etc and purchase a gun. Please take the time to educate yourself so you don't look quite so ignorant.

      April 19, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. None

    This is the end of our nation. Remember this day and remember what life was like when we had some small amount of freedom. It will be gone tomorrow and we will have no way to ever fight to get it back.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Atlahua

      I remember when I was told that I couldn't have hand grenades and a rocket launcher for my birthday. I was crushed and I hated my parents for impeding on my right to bear arms. I was a kid then, acting much the same way a lot of you folks are now. The good news is that I got over it and realized it was for the better. So hang in there kids, I feel your pain.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • TNP

      Good, I'm glad they're finally starting to limit gun nuts rights, brighter days ahead for sure!

      January 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dingoatebaby

      Great! Hopefully it means people like you will leave the country and make it a better place! Adios!

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

      Hopefully it means people like you will leave the country and make it a better place! Adios!

      January 16, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. No U

    No place in a movie theater. Movie theaters are already gun free zones!

    January 16, 2013 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al Orlando

      Wow. I had no idea. that there is no crimes in movie.....

      January 16, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
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