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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soundoff (1,548 Responses)
  1. Harvty

    The Emperor has arrived. Look out folks. What's next?

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

      Wait and see what they do after the NEXT shooting occurs despite their worthless new restrictions on law abiding citizens.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sergio M.

    I think we should call out all congressmen and women who vote against gun laws. I think they should answer to all americans why there against it, I think all news agencies should put pressure on them, just like they do the president. Im glad the president did what he did today, hopefully congress doesnt take that long because people are dieing.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harvty

      News agencies do not pressure this president, EVER. They are his biggest cheerleader which is a major reason why we have such an incompetent in the White House now.

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

      And I think politicians should speak honestly on why they are for stricter gun laws, or is that not fair to you?

      January 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bibleverse1

    I guess with everything there is good and bad some will get passed others wont.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ryan

    Are those the kids that were "killed" in the Sandy Hook Scandal standing behind him? Obama...there are millions of guns and 30 mags in the US. You actually think your Executive Order crap is going to prevent anything????

    January 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. K from AZ

    The Fourth Reich is here! Thanks AmeriKA! Now for the concentration camps under the guise of ObamaCare!

    January 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • dpcfoh

      Your tinfoil is loose.

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

      you must be part of the third Reich

      January 16, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ericfreerock

    Blame the killers, not the tools. Lets see, a few people killed 3,000 people with some planes, Oklahoma city was over 160 killed with fertilizer, the biggest school massacre in the US was with explosives; a club; and a bolt action rifle.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Reagan was the best

    I hope this order includes taking away the 11 ARMED GUARDS Hussein Obozo has at his kids school and disarming his secret service goons. Why should they be allowed protection,but not us civilian peasants? Does this also mean Hussein WON'T give arms to his buddies in terrorists countries?

    January 16, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Realist

      There's so much ignorance in your post it's painful. If you READ the EO's there's an order to make money available for schools to HAVE ARMED GUARDS and to allow trained teachers, guards, and school officials training on how to shoot in these situations. Nothing in there about taking away anything from anyone so unless you're mentally ill or a criminal your guns right will be alright just like me and my guns will be too.

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

      still stuck in the past Reagan was an actor he played a great president should have won an oscor

      January 16, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Boo

    This is what happens when children can't play with their toys responsibly. The NRA children have noone to blame but themselves.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Realist

    As I read some of the comments it kills me how much hatred people have without reading the proposals. Some of these EO's are exactly what the NRA wanted. I am an owner of several guns, my father was in the Army and a law enforcement officer so I love my 2nd amendment rights. The truth is I don't see anything here that will impede on me protecting my family.

    7. "Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign." – Great Idea
    12. "Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations." -Now teachers will be able to carry and respond
    13. "Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime."- Enforce the laws already on the books
    18. "Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers."- Give schools money to hire more armed guards
    22. "Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations." – Deal with mental illness and keep guns from the insane
    23. "Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sibelius and Duncan on mental health." – Again deal with mental illness

    January 16, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jesus Christ Superstar

      Sadly, there aren't a lot of gun owners like yourself. Others see this list & think that the next step is total confiscation. The REAL issue is we need a boundary that separates the responsible gun owners from the crazies, and this is a great start!

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

      Read it more carefully. It never states that school officials will be licensed to carry. All it says is they will be properly trained. In other words they will be sent to a once a year meeting on how to respond to an active shooter. Schools already practice active shooter drills. Its just another redundant proposal that in then end won't amount to much. Before you get upset at people for not reading the proposals, read them more carefully yourself.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bill

    I like this one: "Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations."

    My neighbor who was mentally unstable and had shot himself was shot 14 times by police. He was laying on the floor without a gun when they shot him.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. TC

    It's humorous when people on here are surprised by the actions of our elected incompetents. Electing the same people over and over and expecting a diferent result – insane? Yes. America? without a doubt we are a stupid deadbeat country

    January 16, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Logan9775

    12. "Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations."

    HIDE! and hope the shooter doesn't find you. What a joke and a waste of taxpayers money. Secede, Secede, Secede.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Steve Maier

    Gun Control? I say we take a look at something that kills many more Americans than guns. Something insidious that ruins the lives and futures of our citizens and the financial stability of our entire healthcare system. Fried Chicken. Fried Chicken is one of the root causes of obesity, diabetes and heart disease in this country. Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, not guns. I don't hear anybody whining in congress about the personal responsibility people should take for their own healthcare. Obviously since such a vast majority of our citizens are incapable of taking care of themselves and would rather blame the government when they are dying of heart disease and can't get healthcare, it's time to legislate. Why should I pay higher health care premiums because obese people are consuming our health care resources faster than they you can say "Popeyes or KFC?". The time is now to act. Fried Chicken control I say. Take the decision away, no more should it be "Fry it or Diet?" The days of "Fry It" have to come to an end quickly. Our fat ass population is the joke of the earth.

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

      When's the last time someone ate KFC, then walked into a school and killed 30 kids with diabetes.

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

      Really...Fried chicken??? Are you nuts? You eat fried food because you want to, nobody forces you to eat unhealthy stuff. Guns on the other hand, kills (and I admit it can protect people too). Do not compare these two you idiot…

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

      Your comments are moronic. No one is forcing people to eat fried chicken and more so, no one is killing children en mass with fried chicken. Sure it may lead to heart disease and stroke but that is a personal choice. Victims of mass shootings, and crazies with guns, do not give their victims a choice. There is no need for anyone to have high capacity magazines and assault rifles, period.

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

      You don't need fried chicken to get fat. You don't even need burgers. People in general don't have very healthy diets to begin with, I'm certainly among them...as much as I would like to change that lol.

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

      As usual, those who are responsible will always pay dearly for the idiots in our country. Also, looking back at these horrible crimes, a lot of them were done by kids/young adults. Think our gov't will profile this group? Nope, we all suffer. BAH!!!

      January 16, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Chris

    What these liberal commie morons just can't (or won't) understand is that you can make all the rules you want, but the bad guys don't care. That's why they are called bad guys. I think Obama should make it easy and just sign an executive order and make murder illegal. Oh wait, we already have that law, but people keep killing each other...hmmm...

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

      You don't get it. It's about preventing what happened at Sandy Hook. It's not going to stop a ciminal from obtaining a gun. Everyone knows that. But what happened at Sandy was a direct result of an irresponsible gun owner PERIOD. And that is what the laws are aimed to do is enforce more responsbility and hold those accountable for being irresponsible. What when you farted did you crap your brain in the toilet bowl or what? Make some sense!

      January 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • M. S.

      hey Moron. Those people that shoot up schools and movie theaters werenot "bad people" before they went on a murder rampage. They were law abiding citizens with issues who snapped. We are just trying to curve their ability to get thier hands on weapons that designed to kill a lot people in a short amount of time. Nobody is trying to take away your right to defend yourself with a gun. Just trying to minimize the chances of another school shooting from happening again. Idiot

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

      Wait, so how will it prevent something like Sandy Hook from happening again when the guy was breaking the law in the first place?

      January 16, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Other Bob

      Spoken like the true poster child for birth control. I guess Ron White is right.

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

      well according to your "logic" maybe we should do away with all other laws that criminals break?? In fact, if a criminal breaks a law we should get rid of that law. Or maybe you forgot that these mass murders were carried out by non-criminals who used legally purchased weapons to kill our children. Please. This is America and not Syria, we shouldn't need to walk around with weapons in order to be safe at school or church or at the grocery store. Really, I hope all you assault weapons advocates move to the middle east, all of their relaxed guns laws seemed to have worked soooo well for them

      January 16, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • MacInBlack1970

      Oh Grow up you fear mongering, conspiracy theorist freak of nature! 2ND amendment gives U.S> citizens the right to bear arms ( Pistols, Shotguns and bolt action rifles! ). Only REAL hunter sportsman use bolt action or Bow / Arrows for hunting deer and whatnot. You know this! So stop playing to the fears and delusional psychotic nutjobs srying " the government is after me! BLAH BLAH BLAH!,, The government ALLOWED YOU HAVE THESE WEAPONS RIGHT? Well then, if the public can't seem to control their responsibly purchasd ASSAULT rifles then RE-INSTATE the 1994-2004 ban + additional measures! No ones coming to take ALL YOUR WEAPONS! THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT OUT TO GET YOU YOU PARANOID FREAK!

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

      How is anything the president recommended going to prevent another Sandy Hook? Oh you can't have large magazines? Use more. Oh you can't have an assault rifle? Use a regular wood stock rifle. Oh you have to get background checks at gun shows? They already do that. What exactly will change?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Ok Travis if you are so smart, tell me how laws will prevent another Sandy Hook from happening. There are already pretty big penalties for murder but people still kill people. People have been killing others since time began, and pretty sure, and I might be wrong(and since you are so smart, please correct me if I am) but guns have only been around a couple hundred years.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. learnusa

    he used 4 handguns

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

      According to the medical examiner the primary weapon used was the "long rifle".

      January 16, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
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