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.

Details emerge on gun control proposal

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. Brian Pfau

    I see an American Spring in our future...

    January 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rynomite

    So these were the 23 executive orders the NRA was worried about and that Rand Paul said Obama was a "King" for?

    Seem like pretty mild measures to me.

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

      read the story... "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. It's the laws that people are worried about, not the stupid 23 actions.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BobJones

    Isn't it time to impeach the imposter?

    January 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      For what?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • ca2011

      Yes, after we are done prosecuting war criminals and felons from Bush administration. Hopefully President Obama won't die of the old age before we get to examine his lower-priority "crimes".

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

      protecting the American public is not an impeachable offense

      January 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • harry

      Those are Executive orders ? They are nothing but Air. Number 2 is protected by the 1974 privacy act so he wants to explore it? These add up to nothing. He needs congress to pass real laws still. Hes outa ammo. So much for bidens BS of executive threats. Good Joke clowns

      January 16, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Floyd

    In my state I can only put 3 shells in my shotgun and hunt birds legally. But, as of today if I chose to do so, I can legally possess an assault rifle with 30 high powered shells in the magazine. It's simple math...birds are ten times more important and safer than people.

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

      Certain people, absolutely.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bro732load

    More pork and government spending and overhead

    January 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. SgtSerge

    Some Americans are dumb, I just read 9 pages of comments and 1/2 are from complete fools.
    1) They are going to disarm America by redefining a "dangerous person" = I am a scared racist
    2) Sandy hook never happened, it was made up for political reasons = Tell that to the people who lost loved ones, see what you get.
    3) We gotta stop the "bad guys" = We need to catch the evildoers – GWB
    4) Aren't we broke ? = yes because 500 million in better understanding gun violence and ways to lower the counts is a bad thing right? 500 million is less then 1% the annual budget

    And the best one..... Who is Obama's kids protected and not ours, why do they have armed guards but we can't defend ours
    Easy, no one said you can't have a gun or 5, you can still protect your kids (if that makes you feel better) but every president had the same protection, so do most stars damn even the socialites have protection I don't hear you yelling at them.... so then why Obama??? oh right, the made up talking points you believe above......
    Uneducated, POS, selfish Americans are the problem, like a cancer growing in the heart of America...... I hope the true Americans (the ones that do not put party before country) can fight off this cancer.

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


      January 16, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      correction, most Americans are dumb... Especially if they think stronger guns laws for law obiding citizens will affect what criminals will do.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • lancewhite00437

      You're missing the point, POS. The issue is not that Malaria and Sharia have Secret Service protection. This issue is that Barry (and a lot of other people in DC that are against having armed guards in schools) sends Malaria and Sharia to a private school that has 11 armed guards, but yet it's crazy to think about having armed guards in schools As for celebrities having body guards with guns. No one is saying that they can't pay for that if they want to. They are saying that it's hypocritical for them to walk around with armed guards while a the same time telling everyone that guns should be banned.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • MissyS

      Calling people racist is dumb. Writing with poor grammar is dumb.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marion

      Did you see the ridiculous ad put out by the NRA asking "why are the Presidents children more important that our children"?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Adam

    Gotta love all the people ready to secede from the Union because they can’t have their “big guns”. I really don’t understand why we have such a hard on for guns in this Country. It just boggles my mind that the answer to gun violence for these folks is to have more guns! Last time I checked we didn't live in a third world country. We shouldn't need weapons to be safe out in public.

    While these gun nuts are claiming that we who support some gun regulations call us pawns – they don't see that they are pawns to the NRA. The primary objective of the NRA is to represent gun manufacturers – not gun owners – don't kid yourself. If any legislation is passed that restricts assualt weapons or ammo – that immediately hits the gun manufacturers. So in the meantime the NRA will get all the gun lovers out there in a tizzy in an effort to save corporate interests. Hence why the NRA's answer to any gun issue is to put armed guards everywhere – more gun sales!!!! Yee HAW!!!!

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

      it is cause to all the gun owners there guns have become there preverbale (insert your name for male genintial) . they can't be a man with out it

      January 16, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pied Piper

      The hard on isn't for guns. It for our right to bear arms against a tyrannical government. This is shaping up to be a tyrann (arbitrary or unrestained exercise of power). We've got almost a third of our population on welfare programs, and it's growing daily. The fight for our rights is not about guns, it's about control. Shouldn't WE THE PEOPLE vote whether or not we want gun control? Of the people, for the people, my ass.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      @ smith dude remove yourself from this... your not making any sense. i hope, yes i hope you have to deal with an issue from a criminal. see how it works out for you.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      You obviously don't understand the Executive Orders. None of them restrict you from puchasing a gun or ammunition. Major reforms require congressional approval – so no rights are being infringed upon by the EOs.

      It's also amusing that you feel that WE THE PEOPLE should vote on gun reforms. Unfortnately it is more like WE THE NRA. The NRA will get all you nuts in a craze and flex its muscle with money to ensure that nothing of value ever gets passed.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marion

      And no one is seeing the NRA offering to PAY for all those armed guards in schools. No....they think the taxpayer should foot the bill.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. BeBopsy

    The NRA yeehaws are surely going insane over this one.

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

      Well when you have an Intelligence Quotient of DOG, you get worked up about a lot of things.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Al Orlando

    Joe Biden once said no one was going to take away his Baretta. It has a magazine capacity of 13 rounds. Has he turned it in?

    January 16, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Where does it say turn in your guns drama queen?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. smith

    here is an idea. take all the gun owners and make them all personally, criminally, and financially responsible for any and all gun crimes. Also if they want to place armed people in the schools then have them foot the bill. I wonder how many of you will still fight for no gun control.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • USVET

      Let's apply that to abortion and other topics that are hot in today's society. You'll soon find yourself on one of those lists of people paying more than your share of some expense.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      dude your speaking jibberish. you seem unsmart.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sickened

      I don't see your logic on why 'all' gun owners should be responsible for 'all' gun crimes. Sounds like the President always blaming Bush. I assume you think all fat people should be held accountable for all injuries and death due to forks and knives?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • paramedic

      On that note lets do the same for automobile owners, because they kill far more people annually than guns do. In a long career as a first responder I have seen more innocent people killed at the hands of a nut behind the wheel of a car than shot by a firearm. The anit-gun people ask why does a private citizen need a "military style rifle" and "high capacity magazines" I ask you why we need a 3000 pound automobile capable of traveling 100 mph or faster!

      January 16, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marion

      They should be charged with the crime if that gun is traced back to them. and they didn't report it lost or stolen....THAT is why they don't want to have to register their guns.

      What about that lunatic in upstate NY who got his neighbor to purchase the guns he used, one of which was an AR-15, because he couldn't pass a background check. That neighbor was arrested....remains to be seen what they charged her with.

      What about all those "law abiding citizens" in Chicago who just go to the outskirts of the city of Chicago and buy up guns to SELL to anyone on the streets of Chicago?

      What about a friend of mine who sold his AR-15 for 3 times its value to a "friend" whom he really did not know well.

      I could go on about all those "law abiding citizens" who own guns legally.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      @paramedic can we also ask why there isn't a ban on cigarettes, they kill even more peole. hell, why not have auto makers install a gps system in vehicles to NOT be able to acceed the speed limits? i believe it would be possible. maybe not allowing people to drive till the age 18 would help. how many reckless teens are killed? my point here is the list can go on and on. bottom line, you'll never be able to prevent it. strengthling laws for law obiding people will not stop unlawful acts of criminals, banning cigerettes will create a job loss and less money for taxes for the Gov. and so on and so forth. you make a valid point with that paticular instance.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Nazis, Communist Progressives its all the same thing!!!

    The German people know what obama is doing. Hitler all soclaist have done the same time and time agian. Lie to the people pass laws that enslave you and then next you will have patriots riding on rail cars to Fema camps becasue you oppose the King Obama. America wake the hell up and read history. We are on a path to destruction.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • screenthis

      And what date is the End of the World coming next? Irrational screaming and conspiracy theories helped Republicans lose. Many look at all this and say to themselves "what a bunch of loons".

      January 16, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • MacInBlack1970

      You are completely out your mind M0R0N! GROW UP YOU SKILESS BRAINLESS |)1ckless TOOLBAG!

      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 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. BobJones

    Nothing Obama does is unexpected by those who did not vote for him.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Cate

    Don't need a gun, just ask those people who have had their homes burglarized about having a weapon. The psycho will just bring more guns, and/or magazines. There were mass shootings under Clinton's gun control laws. None of these laws are going to stop mass shootings.

    You don't think you need a weapon today, but where are you going to be when there are no legalized weapons and a criminal has an illegal weapon to rob and/or kill you.

    If you think gun control is going to,for a second, stop criminals from obtaining them, you are seriously delusion.

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

    Does he realize that a 10 round capacity magazine actually is less than some guns minimum actual capcity? affecting the law obiding citizens rights will not affect what criminals do. when are you f'ing morones going to understand this??? POTUS you are a dictator!!

    January 16, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. felon

    Wow was there a little profiling going in in this announcement. Convicted felons its all your fault. every time there is a mention of gun violence some how felons a figured into the problem. could someone please enlighten me on how many of these mass killings were committed by a convicted felon please go back into history as far as you would like

    January 16, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      My God, you people will just gripe about anything.

      After all the "bad guys still have guns!" crap, now you're saying that you want the "bad guys" to have guns?

      Make up your mind.

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