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. Jack

    I do not see anywhere that he is going to make secondhand buyers register the gun. His 23 orders are going to accomplish nothing unless he has a way of successfully tracking guns. If somebody buys a gun, they can sell it to whoever they want without registering it. This does not make sense. Congratulations Obama, you have accomplished nothing.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • GunGun

      Canada spent $2 Billion on their gun registry and solved no crimes

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

      You do realize the president does not have the power to just say "no more assault rifles", right? This is more of him laying out what he would like congress to address...which is really all he can do.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      Who cares if they are tracked? How is that going to prevent this from happening again? Just because you know where a gun is doesn't mean it can't be used in this manner again.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Twainland

      Sure beats what past POTUS's and the NRA have done 'combined': NOTHING

      January 16, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ZL

    Fox needs to be regulated to, all media outlets need to be fined for the lies and conspiracy theories they push off as facts. All they do is alienate our society and cause these problems. American's can't work together when one group of people has an entirely different set of fabricated facts. If we want to fix the mental health issues in this country, we start by silencing the extremists that do nothing but push propaganda and fear.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Name*dlc76

      Two way street. You don't know anything, unless you see it yourself. Fact.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Musser

    I support the executive orders. I'm a Large Gun Enthusiast, you all have seen me and boys out shooting. But I like the executive orders. Now, lets hope Congress can listen the people, not the NRA and understand that the Presidents orders will indeed make an immediate difference and I hope congress will give it time before making any knee-jerking decisions about military style guns and large capacity magazines. But otherwise, I support you Mr. President

    January 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • RF Burns

      Once you give up your freedoms for security eventually you will have neither.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Logan9775

      Moron. Next they'll be coming to burn our books. Never give up your freedoms.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • felixgiordano

      Don't listen to RF Burns and Logan9775 they are speaking out of fear about something they don't even understand.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • TNP

      The 2nd Amendment doesn't say you should have access to assault rifles, a single shot rifle should be sufficient.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. RF Burns

    Obama is overstepping his authority again. He needs to be impeached.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      He didn't touch your d4mn guns. He used Executive Orders for what they're intended to be use for – to make it easier and more efficient for law enforcement officers to do their jobs.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chooch0253

      If you had a clue you would be dangerous. As you obviously have no clue you are simply one of people that oppose anything this particular President attempts to do. Bush signed 812 Executive Orders while President. I would be willing to bet, you never, not once claimed Bush was exceeding anything, to include an I.Q level of a mouse.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Larry

    Well looks like Eric Holder will be in charge of enforcing a lot of this. So, don't worry folks, fast and furious was under his authority and look how well he did on that one. I would worry if government did anything to an acceptable level so, nothing to worry about here

    January 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chooch0253

      Fast and Furious is a continuation of a program started under the Bush Administration and his Attorney General Gonzalez. It is called "Gunrunner". Unsurprisingly, you did not know this or did not mention it. You are simply one of the ignorant that will oppose anything this President attempts to do, no matter what it is.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • felixgiordano

      HA! Your ignorance is amazing. Holder's office prosecuted more terrorists than Gonzalez did in GW Bush's administration. If you want effectiveness, then Holder's office has produced. That's a FACT!

      January 16, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. foresee

    "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.

    Obama could have saved these victims instead of use them, but hi doesn't care about your children or you. Obama only cares about his children, protected by armed guards at all times, and hisself.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chooch0253

      Posted like the true sock puppet you are. Good job. You are one of the ignorant that will oppose anything this President attempts to do. You have no logic, you just know you oppose him.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • TNP

      Obviously his kids need protection, much more so than mine and yours. Or do you feel there's a risk from a terrorist organization kidnapping your kids? Or a foreign government with a grudge deliberately targeting YOUR kids? Wake up.

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

    nothing really addresses the culture of violence. Movies like "A bullet to the head" and violent video games are add to the problem.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Greg

    What happened to Obama care records staying private. How does he lie so much and nobody calls him on it.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. pippin

    Obama is 100% right on this. Give the man a chance to right too many wrongs. Surely most people in the US want this to happen. They risk their lives around the world protecting different cultures and societies. They have the right to exist safetly in their own country.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      because getting rid of guns in good peoples hands will take guns off the black market. Also, he did not say anywhere that he will try and track guns. He just appointed someone for a position paid for by taxpayers to do nothing.

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

      I bet you didn't even read the list.
      Did you...

      January 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • felixgiordano

      Jack, Obama is not getting rid of anyone's guns if they are legally able to own them. It amazes me how gun owners can speak such vile rhetoric regarding their right to own weapons yet they exhibit so much fear for proposals that do nothing to harm their gun rights.

      And I'm a responsible gun owner who believes that we need to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill and eliminate the type of guns and magazines that do not make common sense for the hunter, sport shooter, and collector.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Pogojo

    I'm glad we have a congress that will not pass this

    January 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Logan9775

      Thank God. With luck, they will all pass absolutely nothing in the next 4 years. Isn't it great having to hold your breath every time your stupid country get ready to do something crazy and super expensive ( which is every time they get ready to pass any bill ).

      January 16, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chooch0253

      Don't bet on it. I happen to think most of our elected officials have a few more functional brain cells than you.

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

      Pogojo, Congress does not have to pass executive orders. Please brush up on your high school civics textbook.

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

      The executive orders are already in place and will not need to pass congress. And given the fact the majority of the population supports a ban on assault rifles maybe the elected officials should keep than in mind as well or would you rather have them go against their supporters?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chris

    I can't believe I voted for this guy and now I'm praying that the Republicans don't let this pass.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Logan9775

      Well, Romney was such a crook, that we had no choice but to vote for him. Hopefully someone shoots him and the VP. Then we'll at least get Bainer, who will probably do little of anything.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norm

      Anyone else feel it was the right thing to do to report Logan for his threat against the president and vice president?
      Join me in stopping this lunatic before he can act.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • felixgiordano

      Chris, Congress doesn't pass executive orders. And exactly what are you afraid of? If the 23 executive orders prevent some innocent children from losing their lives, what's the problem. I would bet if you were a parent who lost a child in a school shooting or was one of the teachers or administrators who lost their lives at Sandy Hook you would be for closing some of the loopholes in gun ownership. It will not affect you're right to own guns just make gun ownership more responsible and keep criminals and the mentally ill from purchasing guns.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jaime

    it's all in his words. He said we can do nothing unless all Americans want to do something. That's kind of how we lose our freedom, we support the removal of it 1 piece at a time because of these kinds of things.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chooch0253

      Sure thing Chicken Little "The sky is falling, the sky is falling".......

      January 16, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Hamsta

    There are to many similarities between Hitler and Obama to allow him to continue destroying America. Pick up your history books Kool Aid drinkers, Germany took these very same steps before the Nazi party took over. Are you aware that the word Nazi is translated as: National Socialist Workers Party? That's right, your president is more of a NeoNazi than that white supremist skinhead is. Obama even indoctrinates your kids just like Hitler did. Ever heard of the"Hitler Yoith"? They were just kids singing songs in parades before Hitler used them as spies to rat on their parents. I see the same pattern going on in school today, my friend's kid was told by his teacher that it is illegal to disagree with President Obama. That has taken the place of teaching "Freedom of Speech" and all the other ammendments we call THE BILL OF RIGHTS.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Skycav

    The good thing that’s happening right now is there will be more AR15's being manufactured. Giving my family and me a chance to buy a couple more for defense.

    God bless the USA and the 2nd amendment

    January 16, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Perspective

    Typical rhetoric. Not a word mentioned of mental health which is a contributing factor in many of these horrific crimes. Obama is a toothless tiger -he's pandered to the Leftist noise and chosen not to tackle the real problem of mental health treatment. Must be too hard for the President.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • dpcfoh

      And if he would have offered free mental health care for all, you'd complain that you aren't willing to pay for it.

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

      You're right mental health care is being completely ignored by mainstream media outlets and our government.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Logan9775

      Notice how he ran away as fast as he could after signing the "orders"...

      January 16, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • julibear

      See #20-23.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chooch0253

      Reading comprehension and paying attention are not your strong suits are they?

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