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. Carson

    Pretending like he's doing something... which is fine, I suppose. But wondering what a "school resource officer" of item 18 might mean.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. sly

    Thank you President Obama for reinstalling President Reagun and President Bush's assault weapons bans. Notice the TeaBillies supported those Presidents, but nothing makes a TeaBillie more upset than a white/black man telling them they cannot own WMDs.

    I have as much right to own a WMD assault rifle as I have to own my personal Nuclear Warhead. But, for some reason, the TeaBillies don't even want countries to own their own Nuclear Weapons, so I kinda doubt they want me to. Now, THAT is hypocrisy.

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

      Not sure you understand... the ban has not been reinstalled. Legislative action is required for that.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Logan9775

    Obama is HITLER!

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

      What exactly on this list would be something that is not common sense and "Hitler" in any way? Troll much?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Scottish Mama

    When I met and married my husband his father made it clear to me that going to NRA seminar classes in Missouri to learn how to use guns, gun etiquette, and not to fear them. Education is key on gun safety. You do not have to own a gun to be educated about guns.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. humonkey

    24. Background checks on all members of ATF, Secret Service, and other Federal Enforcers, as well as requiring mental exams on all owners of guns or owners of hired and trained assets who protect with lethal force, especially those in Congress.

    In a World without Guns, there would be no need for secret service, ATF, or militarized personnel. WE may not be living in a third world country, but most definitely living in a first world country.

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

      The tyrant king Obama strikes again

      January 16, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      What in the world are you talking about? Guns are the only weapon in this country now?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. BobJones

    CNN: Where journalism goes to die.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. misty woodruff

    all obama is trying do is make sure that that is a better gun control then what there is right now and to make sure what happened to those innocent children dont happen to anyones elses children cause i wouldnt want that to happen to my girls so stop and think before u open ur mouths

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

      I am glad he gave $4 billion to carry out the NRA's plan.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. PO'd

    Great, more laws on the books, less progress...

    January 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. foresee

    "Nominate an ATF director." That'll be a drunk, Marlboro smoking, gun toking mentally ill person that Obama calls friend!

    January 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Adam

    These are all stuff the "gun nuts" want anyways. Political showmanship at its best/worst. All this hype for nothing. And I paid how much for that gun?!

    January 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. wrm

    HA! These orders are hilarious. Completely toothless.

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

      I especially like the "enforce the law" one. Did he actually sign an executive order to "enforce existing laws?"

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

      Maybe some in law enforcement need to be reminded of that part of the law. Like that loony-tune sheriff in Oregon

      January 16, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • James Nasium

      kckaooos: "I especially like the "enforce the law" one." And where did you see *that wording?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. BobJones

    Using little kids as shields and political props. Liberals and democrats have ZERO morals. Never have, never will.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. TheAntiChrist

    He's just doing what he promised. Some people may not like it but it's the signs of our times. Every thing that is being signed now can be reversed later. BTW I am not a Democrat or GOP'er. Im not liberal or conservative. Im me.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. John

    What? Do you mean that no U.N. para military troopers using black helicopters are going to be making house to house searches for pistols in Kansas?

    Once again the conspiracy theorists are wrong, way wrong. Every one of these orders is reasonable. Obama has not : De facto outlawed the sale of ammunition, made it near impossible to host a gun show, made it near impossible to sell guns, made it near impossible to transport weapons over state lines etc.

    I vote Republican but got sick of the NRA a long time ago....

    January 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rich M

    I can't listen to a word he says anymore without vomiting. Sick of his voice, his face, his arrogance, his opinions and eveything else. Someone please put me in a coma for the rest of his administration. i would gladly give up 3 years of my life to be past the mess he is creating. I could wakeup lick my wounds, and get on with my life.

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

      I know what you mean. I feel the exact same way about Boehner, Ryan, Cantor, Palin, Bachmann and, in past Cheney, just to name a few!

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

      Drama much? Nothing on this list is more than common sense stuff we should already be doing but sadly have not been.

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