Obama announces 23 executive actions, asks Congress to pass gun laws
President Obama signs gun-violence-related executive actions following an announcement at the White House Wedensday.
January 16th, 2013
02:32 PM ET

Obama announces 23 executive actions, asks Congress to pass gun laws

  • President Barack Obama announces 23 executive actions on gun control, separately asks Congress to pass gun-control laws
  • Obama asks Congress to pass laws that would: require background checks on all gun sales; restore a ban on "military-style assault weapons"; ban gun magazines with capacities of more than 10 rounds; and toughen penalties on people who sell guns to those who can't have them
  • Below are the latest updates as they come to us. Also, you can read our full story, and check out details of Obama's plan.

[Updated at 2:32 p.m. ET] The National Rifle Association of America has issued a statement responding to Obama's announcement:

"Throughout its history, the National Rifle Association has led efforts to promote safety and responsible gun ownership. Keeping our children and society safe remains our top priority. The NRA will continue to focus on keeping our children safe and securing our schools, fixing our broken mental health system, and prosecuting violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law. We look forward to working with Congress on a bi-partisan basis to find real solutions to
protecting America's most valuable asset - our children.

"Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation. Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy."

[Updated at 12:43 p.m. ET] Senate Democratic leadership sources tell CNN that passing any new legislation will be extremely difficult because more than a dozen vulnerable Democrats from conservative states will probably resist much of what the president is pushing, according to CNN's Dana Bash.

These Democratic sources say the most likely legislation to pass will be strengthening background checks, since it is the least overt form of gun control and it also appeals to gun rights advocates' emphasis on keeping guns away from people with mental health and criminal problems.

[Updated at 12:42 p.m. ET] Reaction to Obama's announcement is starting to come in. From Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, whose state was the site of the December 14 school massacre that prompted Obama to examine gun control steps:

"In the hours after the worst of our fears were confirmed, in the midst of the grief and sorrow over the loss of 20 innocent children and six dedicated educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School, there was one question on the minds of people across Connecticut and around the nation: How do we make sure this never happens again? Today the president took the critical first step toward answering that question. The common sense measures he proposed today are something that we should all be able to agree on, and I want to commend him and the vice president for their work on this issue."

From Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner:

"House committees of jurisdiction will review these recommendations. And if the Senate passes a bill, we will also take a look at that."

[Updated at 12:22 p.m. ET] The announcement is over, and Obama is signing the 23 executive actions. These actions are in addition to laws that Obama wants Congress to pass. Here, according to the White House, are the 23 executive actions that he and his administration will do:

1. "Issue a presidential memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system."

2. "Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system."

3. "Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system."

4. "Direct the attorney general to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks."

5. "Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun."

6. "Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers."

7. "Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign."

8. "Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission)."

9. "Issue a presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations."

10. "Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement."

11. "Nominate an ATF director."

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

13. "Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime."

14. "Issue a presidential memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence."

15. "Direct the attorney general to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies."

16. "Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes."

17. "Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities."

18. "Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers."

19. "Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education."

20. "Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover."

21. "Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges."

22. "Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations."

23. "Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health."

[Updated at 12:17 p.m. ET] Obama says he acknowledges that Americans have certain unalienable rights, but with those rights come responsibilities, and that Americans are "responsible for each other." These rights - including those to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - were denied to victims of high profile shooting such as those at Virginia Tech last decade and the December 14 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Obama called for public pressure on Congress and the gun lobby to push for stronger steps against gun violence, saying "the only way we can change is if the American people demand it."

"Let's do the right thing ... for (shooting victims) and for the country that we love so much. Thank you. I'm going to sign these orders," he said.

[Updated at 12:10 p.m. ET] More details on what Obama said about the 23 executive actions he's poised to take: The actions, he said, include those that would strengthening background checks on gun sales and expand safety programs in schools.

He hasn't said what all of the 23 actions would do.

[Updated at 12:09 p.m. ET] Obama says he will nominate B. Todd Jones, acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as its permanent chief. The agency has lacked a permanent leader for six years.

[Updated at 12:07 p.m. ET]  Obama says he will sign 23 executive orders relating to this issue today.

He also will ask Congress to pass laws, including ones that would:

- require universal background checks (background checks on anyone who would buy a gun,  whether in stores or at auctions and conventions)

- restore a ban on "military-style assault weapons" (the ban expired in 2004)

- ban gun magazines with capacities of more than 10 rounds

- tougher penalties on people who sell guns to people who aren't allowed to have guns

[Updated at 11:59 a.m. ET] President Obama has started to speak, and he's thanking Biden for his work to recommend gun-control steps in the past couple of weeks.

Obama also is acknowledging four children who are sitting being and to the left of his podium. These children were asked to attend the announcement because they wrote letters to Obama after the December 14 shooting at a Newtown, Connecticut, school.

The nation should be motivated to keep children such as these from harm, he said. "Their voices should compel us to change," and that's why he asked Biden to come up with recommendations that the country should execute "right now" to curb gun violence, Obama said.

[Updated at 11:56 a.m. ET] "The world has changed and it is demanding action, it is in this context that the president" asked me to come up gun-control recommendations, Biden said.

Some of the recommendations that Biden's task force gave to Obama on Monday include executive orders that the president can make without congressional approval, Biden said.

[Updated at 11:53 a.m. ET] Vice President Joe Biden has begun the event with an acknowledgement of the December massacre at a Connecticut elementary school, where 20 children and six women were killed. "It's been 33 days since (the nation's heart) has been broken" by the Newtown shooting, he said.

He's also addressing the Newtown victims' relatives who are attending the White House announcement.

[Initial post, 11:38 a.m. ET] The moment for President Barack Obama to announce his gun-control proposals is about to arrive.

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are expected to unveil - around 11:55 a.m. ET - gun control proposals that, according to a source, will include background checks on all gun sales, a ban on assault weapons, and a ban on gun magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds.

This post will have details on Obama's proposals as they are announced. Check this page starting just before noon ET, and refresh often for updates.

The announcement at the White House comes after Biden led a task force to make gun-control proposals, partly in response to a December 14 shooting that killed 20 children and six women at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

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NRA: Obama an ‘elitist hypocrite’

Opinion: No, hypocrisy is at the NRA

Oregon sheriff: 'Unconstitutional' gun control laws won't be enforced

GOP senator vows to fight ‘king’ Obama

soundoff (1,548 Responses)
  1. Ryan

    Holy crap...they all make sense! And I'm an NRA member!

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

      Good for you. All are welcome. Pay your dues and be happy in the minority.

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

      NRA member as well, these all make sense. Common ground, people.

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

      This is so reassuring. Thank you for posting this

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

      i agree... i think many people were way off base with their assumptions of what the president was planning. i am both surprised and content with all proposals.

      i don't think gun owners can say that he is trying to "take their guns" with this list.

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

      We should start our own group and call it the ENRAMWB (Ex NRA Members with Brains). Not all NRA members think that we should all have the rights to carry nuclear missle launchers with quick loading 50 missile cips. When the NRA begins to defend the rational, then the rational will once again back the NRA.

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

      Are you kidding me now there will be an ATF Czar, No Doctor patient confidence, An open ended law that gives the attorney general the power to decide who is dangerous and cannot own weapons, even if they have commited no crimes. Look into this a little deeper

      January 16, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Nick

    Funny how my post about Eric Holder defining "dangerous" individuals never seems to get picked up. Holder can write the definition of dangerous individual to be anyone not in law enforcement, thereby making it illegal to sell virtually anyone a firearm. Police state here we come!

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

      You dangerous, bro?

      January 16, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. What

    Wait a min?! Are those kids up thier?
    What an a hole? He rubbed the NRA for "using" kids?
    But oh god! Thier he is!

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

      they are kids who wrote to him after the Sandy Hook incident. he read from their letters. did you even listen to what he was saying?

      January 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derr

      You should learn to spell and use propper grammar before voicing your opinions on forums like this. I'm not saying I agree or disagree with your statements, but it's hard to take someone who writes like a 6 year old very serious.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. thepctechinjersey

    23 Executive orders that affect pretty much only law abiding citizens/gun owners. What a waste of time and effort. He only needed ONE executive order: A crime committed with a gun is an automatic 25 years in prison with hard labor. A crime involving death by firearms is an automatic life in prison with no chance of parole...ever. In short, if you're found guilty of using a gun in a crime, you go straight to jail, do not pass go, and you will lose the right to appeal.

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

      Fully agreed.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. CommonSensed

    16. "Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes."

    16.1 "Clarify that patients are under no obligation to answer this question."

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

      I posted about the same concern. What happens in this scenario: you notify your doctor that you have a gun in the household, then you visit the doctor for simple depression or anxiety. Will they then recomend that your guns be taken away on the basis that you are mentally unstable? Will they deny you insurance? What will happen?

      January 16, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ccw holder

    so this is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause.

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

      And the award for terrible Star Wars reference that has absolutely nothing to do with these executive orders goes to.... ccw holder! Congratulations!

      January 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. one against a million

    Dare you to tell this to the 20 parents who lost thier kids!!!

    January 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. joey

    Big woop, a lot of states do this already

    January 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Becemy

    The one that concerns me:

    16. "Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes."

    I have a feeling this will lead to other actions that would harm law abiding citizens, such as denial of insurance or requirements to visit a mental health facility to review your mental health status. The law abiding gun owners in the future may be scared to go to the doctor for simple depression for fear of having their guns taken away by false allegations of mental instability.

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

      Or perhaps it works hand in hand with the ammendment to HIPAA. How else can this whole "don't let guns fall into the hands of mentally ill" work? How do we know who is "mentally ill" or not? The physicians know. And if this info can be shared with background check agencies, then perhaps the mentally ill won't be able to purchase or own guns.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Becemy

      Yes, but what will be defined as mentally ill? If you tell your doctor that you have been feeling tired and down lately, will that send up a red flag? At what point does it go from normal depression/anxiety/what have you to the point of becoming mentally ill?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bobby

    It sounds like the NRA is running scared. We should not let the 1% of the NRA determine what the rest of us 99% do with regards to guns. There is not need for high capacity magazines, nor assault type rifles or hand guns which hold 15 to 20 rounds.

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

      "Assault type" rifles and regular rifles are exactly the same, just different cosmetically. A rifle is a rifle is a rifle. Too bad most people can't understand this.

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

    This is pretty mild. That said, I still expect the NRA and right-wingers to freak out. Nowhere does it say anything about seizing guns from people, but I expect that accusation to run rampant around Fox News today, and even these tepid directives will likely die in the house. Sad, but then again what about our politics isn't?

    January 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lynndel Humphreys

    Mental health has always been a dream of tyrants.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. What

    Didn't they bust on the NRA for sayign the SAME thing?
    . "Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers."

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

      Resource officers != armed guards.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Thinks2010

    Good job Mr. President. Thank you for this bold, brave, sensible move. Now the ball is in the hands of Congress. Let's hope they will pass legislation in line with the proposals so that we can finally address some of the things that contribute to gun violence in America whil respecting the 2nd Amendment. Polls show that the majority of Americans are with you on this. Let's hope our Congress will represent us on this rather than caving under pressure from the NRA and the gun manufactuers' lobbyists.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Person

    Ban clips over ten and make it legal to take the over-ten clips already out there.

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

      Government confiscation (of anything) has always worked in the past. The people are always 100% in support.


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

      If someone wants to kill somebody, they are going to do it. Anyone who thinks the 10 round limit is going to do anything needs to have their head examined. Take the Kansas City Chiefs played who killed his girlfriend for example. That girl was going to die no matter what, guns or no guns.

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