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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GOP senator vows to fight ‘king’ Obama

soundoff (1,548 Responses)
  1. cen

    I am so ashamed of our president. How many mass public shootings have their been in his presidency including school shootings? And this was the tipping point? really, Shouldn't have waited this long. I'd be happy to wait 7 days for my guns, I'll give you access to medical history, whatever you want. Stricter background checks, hell ya. Bans on guns and magazines, no. won't help anything

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

    Our schools in our district lock the doors, there is a monitor, and you must enter in the front of school. You are buzzed in, must go into the office and check (sign) in. I think an ounce of common sense, will save lives. It does not have to cost alot of money. If Newtown would have had just this the young man would have been outside and maybe a little time and a call to police would have prevented it. We also police on campus at all schools. The High School campus has a guard and you must stop and tell them why you are entering the campus.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Danc

    Why request a ban on "assault weapons" and high-capacity magazines? Sandy Hook murders were done with hand guns and extended capacity magazines. No military style AR-15 was at the scene until the law enforcement showed up. The "Obama-media" lied and hyped up everything to push their political agenda. Honest journalism is dead.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      Wrong. Read the coroner's report. Almost every wound that ripped those children to shreds came from the AR15 that was found on the floor next to Adam Lanza's body.

      You listen to the "initial" reports, which are always wrong, and you ignore the ones made later, once everyone had calmed down. Typical.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. screenthis

    Yes, another opportunity for the 'right wing nuts' to run in and scream nonsense. I'm not seeing anything egregious in these orders as of yet. But of course, with some, never miss an opportunity to Prove that Obama will be then end of us all. RUN FOR YOUR LIVES. Singed...not an Obama fan but definitely a 'right wing' nut job opponent.

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


      January 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy Goodman

      I'm sorry that you are too ignorant to see what is becoming of our once glorious country. When our rights are taken away we are giving up our freedoms that our forefathers created for us to protect us from all possible threats, including power hungry federal officials. Right wing or left it doesn't matter, what matters is that we stay sensible and make the right decisions on these pressing matters, and what is needed is for us to enforce gun safety, gun responsibility, and gun accountability. A gun is an inanimate object, a tool and nothing else. Should we ban certain vehicles that are used in hit and runs? Should we ban fertilizer because it can be used to make bombs? All I'm saying is that if you let this go all of our rights are up for grabs. Please consider that if the government does continue to take our rights away then we will no longer have the ability to take a stand against the injustice that will ensue. Final note, assault rifles are not semi-auto weapons, they are three round burst or full auto capable weapons. Attacking cosmetics will do nothing but possibly kill the gun industry due to these pointless laws and that just means that more Americans will lose their jobs.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tom, Tom the Other One

    How do we make sure this never happens again?

    You can't. Bad things happen, they always have and always will. Scapegoat-ing only shows your ignorance of history and the human condition. Emotional overreactions are what children do. Be an adult.

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

      Obama is not taking away American Gun Ownership, he is banning some military style assualt weapons and magazines holding more than ten bullets. No hunter or any Law abiding Gun owner, Collector in his right mind will fight this, most if not all don't even use these types of weapons to hunt. Universal Background Checks, Mental Health issue, Communnity policing and a few other "common sense" orders will be put to Senate? America, you can still own your guns to protect yourselves & property, just not weapons for Mass Desruction made specifically for the Battlefields and not your neighbourhoods.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      Shorthanded – You're wrong. He's not banning anything. He didn't ban anything. He won't ban anything.

      He told Congress they should consider it. Big difference.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom the Other One

      My comment said nothing of bans. Who you consider to be in their right mind and who isn’t is clearly wrong as many of the said owners are fighting this and they haven’t committed any such act of mass destruction. I would also add that if you think a simple AR is capable of ‘mass destruction” your relative perception of realty is screwed. Thank you for proving my point about emotion overacting. I ask only that you stop exaggerating, educate yourself and make a rational decision. Disagree with me if you will, but base your opinion on facts not feelings.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. SF

    Yea, no mention of video games and Hollywood, ok kids, back to modern warefare, enjoy your online killing. I miss the days of the plastic Nash skateboard and little legue baseball. Where the hell did all these crazy kids come from, jesus!

    January 16, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      You completely missed the whole section of the speech about the CDC studying the effects of violent video games on movies with or without Congressional approval, didn't you?

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

      Plenty of other countries with lower gun-related crime stats have youth that watch movies and play videogames.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Al Orlando

    I find it interesting that my 1903 Winchester .22 short "gallery gun" (the ones they used to have in Coney Island) is now banned, but my .50 bolt action single shot, which vaporizes those shot, is ok. Look on UTube for .50 sniper shots. These people don't know what they are talking about. There are no "military weapons" available to the public. It is a joke. Obama sends his kids to a school that already had 9 armed guards. This is a school for rich kids. Of course they have armed security. Did Obama tell the kids as he kissed them, that they owe the fed $250,000 each? Did he tell them there would be a cop in there school.....The cop runs first. Waits for the LT for instructions. Good luck

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

      Unless you live in a state that's enacted bans on its own – NOTHING IS BANNED.

      But, hey. Don't let, ya know, reality stand in the way of whatever it is you're ranting about.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • livingston

      No guns were baned but thanks for playing

      January 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Read the Brady Bill. Guns older than 50 get a pass.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mom

    What exactly does this mean "Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers."? We are going to pay more in taxes to fund a resource officer that is not going to be able to protect our children anymore than anyone else already at the school? Unless the resource officer is going to be armed how is that going to help? We need more money in schools for book, paper and pencils......

    January 16, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Ours are armed. Dare officers.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bEAR

    Seriously Ed, get off your computer and go do something about it then. Assemble the militia, take back what they are taking from you, because if you don't then you are not living up to your duties as an American.

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

    And how much will all this cost and how will we pay for all this? Have we forgotten about about the "cliff" already? This spend now pay later behavior must stop. My votes will be looking for people who know how to manage a checkbook. My kids' future depends on it.

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

      Not if they are shot first.

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

    Making treatment of mental illness readily available on background checks will result in only one thing–fewer people will seek treatment. Therefore there will even more untreated mentally ill people out there with weapons.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      You're right. We should do nothing. We should let dangerously ill people have more guns. We should let violent convicted felons have more guns. We should pack our kids' school lunches with guns. MORE GUNS FOR EVERYONE!

      You people. I swear.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dizzyd

    Oh boy! Here we go with the 'Obama is evil and going to strip us of our rights to pack heat where and whenever we want like in good ol' 19th-cent. Tombstone, waa waa waa!' C'mon ppl! All he's trying to do is keep ppl safe. Why is that such a big deal? Or is it 'cuz it's 'anti- Christ, freedom, America, etc. 'Obummer" doing it?

    January 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johnross1968

      It's a big deal because the President shouldn't be trying to pass laws himself. That's congress' job, not his.
      Do we need laws making sure nutjobs don't get guns? YES we do. But to just hand over unlimited power to the President to make laws as he sees fit and allowing him to bypass the process of creating laws is WRONG.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Robert

    #16 to Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes."
    so everyone has to tell their Doctor what guns you have

    January 16, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mom

      I can remember when my kids where little, their pedi asked if we had guns in the house and how we protected our children from them. Not a bad thing....

      January 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      That is not what it says.

      It says that doctors are not legally prohibited from asking. Whether or not you answer is up to you.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Brimstone

    Fact: Hamsta doesn't know what a Nazi is

    January 16, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. harriet

    I didn't see anything in there about requiring gun owners to have liability insurance. Too bad. That would have had an added bonus of letting the "market" push for safety too.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sickened

      Sure, just like how you're required to have auto insurance. Wait, people still don't and usually when involved in an accident just get slapped on their wrist.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      You mean impose a tax on people who don't have gun liability insurance; right? 😉

      January 16, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
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