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. kalo

    Where is the revolution the right promised? Oh...it didnt happen they just pulled it from a tender spot.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Travis

    There has to be a start. This is not a perfect plan and obviously will have challenges, but to do nothing and use scare tactics such as some of those used by interest groups...then we've failed.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Pat

    So does a ban mean no more buying semi autos or mags over 10 or does that mean they are now illegal?

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

      It could mean either, depending how it would theoretically be written. That said, it's never going to pass the senate or the house of representatives, so this is a moot point.

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

      New, I believe. Existing ones are grandfathered in.

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

      It means whatever congress says it means. There is no ban right now

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

      If you can find them, I would say buy it now. Except a rush on them everywhere.

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

      Nothing is illegal yet. Congress has to pass the bans.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Myto Senseworth

    I am a responsible gun owner and I am pro 2nd A. These 23 executive actions look like many of the things I would totally agree with. I may change my mind when I see how this plays out, but things that should have been addressed a long time ago. I am still not a supporter of Obama, but this should be a good start to common sense violence management. I still don't agree with the 10 round magazine.

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

      It doesn't matter, there's no way that gun control laws will pass the senate or the house of representatives.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. sadman747

    i'm calling it here. the next World War is going to be in the US. and what is going to happen is smart americans who don't wan't to pay a 50% tax rate to uncle sam is going to Revolt. because the leaders of our country scaled our military down so much they will not stand a chance. so oh, China has a vested interest in the country continuing on it's current path. as well as other countries. so they will all come to the aid of the socialist government we will have and boom. WWIII.

    as far as all you "educated people out there" gun control means spend alot of money. our government does that too much as it is. you all are the same retards that vote yes on every bond on the ballot. too stupid to realize that comes from you own pocket in the form of taxes. there is no free money idiots. so if you take away the gun i will use to liberate you in the future, what will we have. i know we will throw rocks like the chinese do just before a machine gun kills 50 people. oh wait. we are not like china right? wrong maybe you should take your educated head out of a book and look at the world in a realtime global view. just saying.

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

      since we are giving out advice here, maybe you should read the article again and see that none of the orders take away guns from anybody. Since you are against education apparently, you should know that doing nothing to solve a problem is 100% succesful at solving the problem.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jaba017

    You forgot Executive Order No. 24 PLAY MORE GOLF.......................

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

      My goodness, the president is a human being who, like other human beings, has the occasional need for physical activity and entertainment. Good lord, call the presses!

      January 16, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. James Nasium

    As a responsible gun owner, I have but one problem with these 23 executive orders – at least as I understand them from the limited information that I have. (yes, I will go read them in due time, but bear with me – I am subject to changing my mind about them. If I am asked in the future – and I have been, once – by a physician as to whether or not I have firearms in my house, I will answer as I did before, "None of your ****amned business." The doctor isn't interested in WHERE my kid goes to school, how many other kids they are around that are flu carriers, or if little Johnny chews on the windowsills, so Affordable Care Act be damned, I will exercise my rights NOT to answer that question.

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

      Nobody is compelling you to answer, but that doesn't mean he isn't allowed to ask.

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

      About 62% of all gun deaths are suicides (35% homicides and the rest accidental) so it is not surprising that your doctor would ask about firearms in the home. Men overwhelmingly use guns to kill themselves (for women, mostly pills). Your doctor is doing due diligence if you have a history, especially recent, of depression – or have known anger management issues, past history of domestic violence, heavy drinking, illegal substance abuse or difficult life issues (long term unemployment, spousal or child's death, etc.) Some mental health issues are temporary and firearms could temporarily be removed from the home or office and stored by law enforcement until your doctor releases you as returned to mental health.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Scottish Mama

    I do not like that yet again responsible gun owners will bear the brunt and extra hassle. It is the illegal people, The VA. Tech gunman fell thru the cracks, the young man in CO. was known to have mental problems, and the young man in Newtown had aspbergers( a spectrum disorder like autism). I think the mental health industry needs to be overhauled first. Legal gun owners should not be banned, especially since not one of the them have caused this uproar.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. SF

    ok, so if they do ban my AR-15 and want to take it, is the goverment going to give me back the $1200 I paid for it legally???

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

      Hopefully yes, I agree that they should pay you the full price you paid. I'd rather fund assault weapon buy back than the Iraq afghan wars

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

    Hats off to the Pres and the VP.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jim

    Seems most of what he doing is saying he will actually enforec the current laws. What a concept.

    Most of what he proposes are not radical in terms of Exectuive order. I'm a hard core supporter of the 2A. The use of the CDC is a bit conerning. Dems have tried to lable gun violence/use as a public health issue.

    The ban/mag cap has little chance of making it past the House.

    For those that think a new ban/cap will make a difference, remember, the previous ban/cap had no statisical influence on crime rates/deaths. 'Assault weapons account for less than 3% of gun related deaths, even less of total homicides, and NONE of those crimes committed could have been impossible without an assualt weapons. A ban will do nothing.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sandman

      All this will continue to do is drive new sales up. Nice to know he is doing something positive for the economy.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Beefburger

    Not a single one of the things listed would have helped the Newton shootings. Obama Logic 101. Sends assault rifles to Syria, Egypt, and Libya. Wonders why civilians want guns.......

    January 16, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • copanut

      You need to improve your reading comprehension. Several of them are relevant to Newtown.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MightyMoo

    'Obama says he acknowledges that Americans have certain unalienable rights, but with those rights come responsibilities, and that Americans are "responsible for each other."'

    Nail on the head, especially about responsibility.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. J.W.

    In response to Shirley's comment about paranoia being spewed forth... you comments remind me of hearing my Grandfather talking about people burying their gold back in the late 1920's because "the government was coming to take it all away" to convert the US to a "Paper-money" society... and they were called paranoid and crazy by their neighbors.... until 1932. Don't be so sure about it not happening, again.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MD

    Well done......these all make perfect sense.

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