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. tensionfilter

    So more taxes buried in all this? Thanks.

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

    America has empowered an anti-American, Islam sympathizer with scores to settle and a country to ruin. He's well on his way. We could only have done it to ourselves. Thanks a lot liberals and morons who vote for the handouts.

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

      What is wrong with you?

      January 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      He didn't touch your precious guns. You can still m4sterbate with them anytime you want.

      Jesus, you people.

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

      Conservatism is a faster way to a Dictatorship. We almost had one with Bush W.

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

      You people are insane. Did you read the list of directives? Not a single gun is banned. Basically it amounts to nothing more than trying to make background checks more effective and training schools to handle emergencies. Get a grip.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ivan

    I'm a democrat, but this is just bull. Car accidents kill tens of thousands of people each year, but we're not banning cars. I don't see a law requiring everyone to drive a hummer or a tank. Killing people is not hard, you can do it with pretty much any home appliance. It's the mentality people should be worried about not the guns.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973


      Jesus F ... read the thing! It's about HIPAA regulations, mental health issues, background checks, and security guards in schools!

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

      Amen! People cease to realize it isn't the guns killing people. It is the mentality behind the gun used by a person to kill them!

      January 16, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Realist489

      Cars are not made to kill, but to transport. Guns have one purpose, killing. They can't do anything else. And once again, freaking read. No one is banning anything.

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

    Waiting for the next Andrew Kehoe or Timothy McVeigh to surface... oh wait they didnt use guns.

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

      Small yield nukes were used there bud. Only one group has those.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. K2

    In 190 England passed the Pistols Act which forbade selling pistols to minors or felons and established that handgun sales were to be made only to those with a license. The Firearms Act of 1920 expanded licensing to include all firearms except shotguns. Laws passed in 1953 and 1967 outlawed the carrying of any weapon by private citizen and mandated registration of all shotguns. After a 1987 mass shooting (17 dead, rifle used) laws were enacted and guns were confiscated. How did they know who had the guns and where to find them...because the gov't had forced registration.

    This is why people are worried about their rights, history has shown that after registration comes confiscation.

    Today England's violent crime is higher than the US and they are now considering banning knives.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dan Jones

    No one minds this list of ideas as most of them are no more than reiterating what is already law or should have been. Now if Congress will tell Obama and Biden to go soak their heads when it comes to banning.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jim

    So I take it his security guards are all going to turn in their weapons for revolvers or others that have no more than ten rounds? The secret service? I'll bet the criminals are storming the ir local police stations to turn in their over 10 rd magazines. He just made just about all handgun owners other than those with revolvers into criminals. This won't stand.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Realist489

      People trained to carry weapons (police, secret service, FBI, SWAT, military) should be able to carry whatever they want. We the people pay them to protect us.

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

      Jim, your post only proves one thing: you didn't read the article

      January 16, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mikewhite

    Americans have now and will always have the "freedom" to defend themselves with firarms. What's the problem? Who's confiscating firarms?

    January 16, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. RichD

    Let's extend the national gun registry to voter ID! How about we make sure no illegals have guns OR vote!
    Tie the two together – make it clear if we are going to "manage" rights we really need to make sure those in office are there by LEGAL votes and not other votes...

    January 16, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. DC1973

    The initial reports were – as they always are – wrong. The AR15 was on the floor next to Lanza's body, and the majority of the wounds that ripped those children to shreds came from it. They found a shotgun in the trunk. They clarified all of this six hours later.

    Try to keep up.

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

      Why does it take police with full body armor and riot shields so long to go into these shooting, 6 hours huh and they have a force of a hundred cops, get in there and earn your pay folks, don't sit outside before your squad cars!

      January 16, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. humonkey

    24. Background checks on all members of ATF, Secret Service, and other Federal Enforcers, as well as require mental exams on all owners of guns, especially those in Congress.

    In Word without Guns, there would be no secret service, ATF, or militarized personnel.

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

      Background checks are performed on any person working for a government organization, whether they be civil servant or contractor. Why don't you get your facts straight before you make another stupid comment.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jaba017

    Then there is Executive Order No. 25. Place a warning on all firearms "WARNING MAY CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH."

    January 16, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Aerin

    The NRA is nuts and completely out of touch with most Americans including gun owners.

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


      January 16, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lynndel Humphreys

    What percentage of diagnosed individuals who commit crimes and those who are sane? Mental health has always been a goal of tyrants.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bizzy B

    Everyone just hates Obama because he's black.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Logan9775

      No, we hate him because he's a dam tyrannical negger who hates white people.

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

      @Logan9775 – You just lost all credibility! Go over to FoxNews....they are waiting for you!

      January 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
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