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. Brad

    Reall He Did nothing?
    This is more than the last several presidents have done.

    He has propsed legislation Thats what a president can do Now its time for congress to act How wack is it to act like he can do more Really People

    January 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. sly

    Common sense laws. Thank you President Obama for reinstating President Reaguns law.

    Who cares what the TeaBillies think? I haven't seen so many southern men crying since Dale Earnhart died.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      He didn't re-enact anything. Not Reagan's laws, and not Clinton's. All he did was make it easier to enforce laws and regulations that already exist, make it easier for law enforcement and health professionals to work together to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, make it easier for schools to get guards if they want them, and promise to work on emergency preparedness programs in the schools.

      That's it. No bans. No restrictions. Nobody's taking anybody's guns, so stop thanking him for it.

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

    All of you who are so upset about the banning of assault rifles need to get off of your computer and do something about it. Go out and protect your freedoms that you think you are loosing. Your "tyrannical" government is getting out of control, put them back in line with your assault rifles while you've still got em'.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      No. All of you who are upset about the "banning of assault rifles" need to wake the heck up and realize that nobody's banning any assault rifles.

      It that happens, it'll be Congress that does it. Now quit screaming about it.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • bEAR

      Well, just to be clear, that was completely sarcastic. The executive orders were full of common sense and any reasonable person would agree with them.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. solcotto

    Thank you Mr. President for doing exactly what a US president should do. Lead.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Brian

    One of the purposes of the 2nd Amendment is to allow us the ability to protect ourselves from the government. Assault weapons are necessary! You are a fool if you think that the Presidents actions have anything to do with protecting your children. This is just another step towards Socialism. Pay attention to what happens next..........taxes will go up again to fund more government.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      No one

      is taking

      your precious


      January 16, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • livingston

      Oh yea, they would be soooo useful against a tank or a done. If they really wanted your little peashooter they would have it by now. Come out of the basement, there's a whole world out here. You might find you like it.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Roto

    I'm ok with the proposals except I would allow Assault weapon sales to certain persons with required specialized training and more extensive background checks. They would also be personally liable for anything that happened with that weapon by anyone (just like automobile laws today). I would also tax such purchases heavily.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Army Brat

    Where to begin – President Regan was FOR an assult weapons ban so what was wrong with that then? What Obama has signed is 6 directives to improve background checks and 9 derictives on health care and mental health issues related to gun violance. I think even the NRA might agree to those! He is not going to get any kind of a weapons ban in without congressional approval, and he certainly not going to get anything larger than an assult weapons ban (at best) which was supported by the holy grail of republicans himself. Also, Obama is talking about the mental health issue which no one seems to acknowledge the link to in all three of the major cases in the last few years.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kevin Wu

    Bans on guns and magazine will reduce the chance mass causalities. It is a great start. However we need more strict gun control measures...

    January 16, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Legal Owner

      I respect you view and opinion but how do you propose we get the high capacity magazines back from the criminals ? Put criminals in jail and keep them there... That will solve a good portion of the problem ! Not taking guns away from good citizens...

      January 16, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sickened

    I see a lot of you making sure everyone understands that 'NO RIGHTS WERE TAKEN AWAY'. I'm glad you admit Obama has once again done NOTHING!

    January 16, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      No, he did his job. He put in place Executive Orders that make it easier and efficient for law enforcement officers to do their jobs. Because that is his job, and that is what Executive Orders are meant to do.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. thaNorthStar.com

    nobody is using these rifles to assault anybody xcept 1 lunatic, a couple copycats, a handful of criminals & police.
    so if you arent wondering why they want to ban them for reasons that they know arent true, then you should be.....

    January 16, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. tkjohnson

    Perhaps "the children" should start writing BO some letters about not dropping some 20+ TRILLION dollars of debt into their laps thanks to all his asinine spending and incompetant "leadership" as well...

    January 16, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • DLinLA

      Never mind...

      You can't fix stupid.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dave l.

    Clearly no one is thinking of how to really solve the problem. this includes the president as well as all of the media. the simple solution is to make a law that requires every gun owner to keep their guns in a gun safe. if any of the guns are ever used in a violent crime, then the gun owner is equally responsible as the person who did the crime. point being.....no one should have the access to the guns except the owner. almost all crimes are done with stolen guns. responsible, registered gun owners are not shooting anyone. if every gun is locked up and the owners are held equally accountable.....problem solved. they need to quit trying to change the 2nd amendment. if we are attacked by a foreign invader....bet your butt that the government will not protect you. you better be able to protect yourself. I hope someone important actually reads this and puts the idea out there.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      You're right. Order #8 doesn't exist.

      8. "Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission)."

      January 16, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon L

      Only problem with this method is that if an intruder breaks into my house it will take way to long to retrieve my weapon from a safe.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • GunOwner

      Oh, yeah, right...that's going to work. Make an innocent person responsible for the act of a criminal For example, Joe Criminal and his buddies break into your home and force you to open your federally mandated gun safe. After they obtain the guns within, the clonk you on the head and leave your house with your guns. You wake up and call the police. In the meantime, Mr. Criminal goes out and robs a store using your gun and kills the clerk. By your idiotic logic, you would be arrested and held responsible for the crime. What a load of garbage.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • CC

      You must not know very much about "safes". The ones that you can afford that can store long guns are not safes. Thy are residential security cabinets. That means they take less than 10 minutes to break into, most significantly less, despite the fancy looking exterior. YouTube will have plenty of examples. It slows down to opportunists but won't stop the theft.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. solcotto

    Hitler?? Are you really that poor of historian that you would compare introducing gun control legislation to genocide?
    Epic fail.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • kosterwi

      uh, solcotto, check your history facts, BEFORE the genocide, he imposed gun laws and took guns away.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • samikep

      I guess Hitler snapped his fingers and over night he was in power an killing people. Maybe you should learn history before you preach about other not knowing it.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. yrr

    To stop gun violence, President Obama should read the Second Amendment loudly to the American people , "... THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS..." then tell them that the second amendment is OLD, OBSOLETE. That right only applies in the old days with old guns. If anyone wants to bear "arms" as stated by the second amendment, those "arms" must be the old guns that shoot one round, they must be reloaded manually for the next round. Therefore, all automatic, semi-automatic, revolvers, guns with magazines must be destroyed voluntarily and involuntarily.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • sdguero

      Clearly you do not understand the intent of the 2nd amendment.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • turftoe

      If you want to use your freedom of speech, you may only use it with technology available in 1776. Better go stock up on parchment paper and goose quills.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. HSJ

    I'm sure North Korea, Iran, Al Qaeda and the Tailban all support the President's gun control measures.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      I'm beginning to think the reason you people are so convinced that you're going to lose your guns is because none of you are going to pass the mental evaluation part of the background check.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • kosterwi

      dc1973, did you see what NYS did yesterday. over 1 million new york citizens are now felons because they own deer rifles. these rifles are now outlawed, yes, they took our guns away whether we can pass the mental health test or not!

      January 16, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • NRA is useless

      go soak your head.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      kosterwi – Then if you're a NY citizen, take it up with the overwhelming majority of both parties that passed it.

      It has nothing to do with the Orders the president just signed.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
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