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. 92asstchief

    extremely hard subject to find a solution..........i can relate to both sides as I own guns. However, I also have children in school and can't imagine losing them to some incomprehensible act. we need to make our schools safer no doubt and let them decide if they feel a security officer is viable. All of you rambling on and on about your 2nd ammendment rights being violated should remember that there were no ar-15's with 30, 50 or 100 round magazines at that time when it was written........so, where do we draw the line?? The GOVT. can take part of the blame for lack enforcement of current laws. Also, we need to make SEVERE penalities for violations..........99% of gun owners are good folks......let's work together to go after the bad ones and hold them accountable.. I'd much rather see my taxpayer$$$ go to putting them benind bars and throw away the key..........

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

      I know it sounds crazy, but maybe we can compromise. Maybe bring some power back to the people? Our second amendment states that we have the right to own guns in order to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government. I believe most citizens would agree that this is true and it is our right. However, do we need to keep assault weapons in our homes? We could create local gun banks, most likely assembled by the town, yet run by the public. This could be a great compromise. Firearms would be stored safely and protected by the public, the same people who store their weapons there, until such a time may arise where it may be necessary to use them. It should be free to the public, mostly run by volunteers. This way people can feel safe because they know that the weapons are stored correctly and also because they know that they are there and available in case of emergency.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom the Other One


      By the time you realized you needed to go to your 'gun bank' it would have already been seized.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. sdguero

    OK cool that's over. Can your guys pass a budget now?

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

    11 armed guards for Obama's children, 0 armed guards for yours. Ya, he's on the case... Only disarming law abiding citizens? Gun control = more crime!

    January 16, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      He didn't disarm anyone.

      And if you think that comparing members of the Secret Service to a local yokel who feeds his hero complex by standing outside a school with a gun is at all valid, then you've got issues.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • clamchop

      His children are protected due to a law that was written 110 years ago. You're argument is invalid.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jared

    Remember that guy that said he would be focused on getting America back to work again? That would be nice right about now. Instead we have someone who focuses their attention on executive orders to control guns and raise the debt ceiling.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • kosterwi

      yeah, he's done a really great job at getting people back to work! Here in NYS, our government by trying to beat him to the punch on this legistlation just pushed a whole lot of small business owners out of business. He's really helping people isn't he?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • DLinLA

      Trying to deflect the argument, I see.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. sdguero

    Good job guys. Can we have a budget now? I know its only your job... vs posturing for the media and the socialist mob that this country has become...

    January 16, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Alex

    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."

    Oh does Obama mean like with Fast and Furious, Mr. Holder? Oppps i forgot he used is executive powers to hide that
    12. "Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations."

    Law enforcement officers have the skills already, The problem Mr BOZO President is, they can only show up AFTER the kids are dead. OH I forgot, you would not know that because your kids are protected by men who do carry guns 24/7 . With out having officers in the schools to stop the sickos to begin with this will happen again. But i certainly hope I'm wrong.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      Any particular reason you decided to punctuate your rant about needing security guards at schools by not mentioning the rule the specifically mentions helping school get them?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      All these folks saying, lets put cops in schools, cause they are trained. Cops are trained to enforce laws....Not get in a firefight with crazys with a bunch of civilians in the line of fire. And what part of being a police school guard gets you on a the promotion list for Sgt or detective?? Get real folks, each school district should decide on their own what's best locally!

      January 16, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mark

    Gun control = more crime. What happened to the conversation about jobs, not gutting the 2nd amendment

    January 16, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. smarie

    "the only way we can change is if the American people demand it" Well then why not let the people vote on it I wonder?

    January 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Proud New Yorker - Proud American!


    January 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Legal Owner

    Sandy Hook was a tragedy.... The thing we should learn from that is there should be an armed police officer at every school protecting our children from all danger.

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

      Are you willing to increase YOUR taxes to pay for it?

      January 16, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Name*Dan

    Impeach this criminal now

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

      He has taken no rights away from you in regards to gun control. We should impeach your right to vote.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Oakspar77777

    I like #18, since it is exactly what the NRA proposed (more SROs in schools), but that the Administration questioned and mocked. It is also on page #11 of the "White House Plan."

    January 16, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Al Orlando

    Hello....There is no public ownership of "military weapons."

    January 16, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Hamsta

    @Brimstone the word Nazi translates as: National Socialist Workers Party, I know eaxactly what a Nazi is. Maybe if people like you would pick up your history books you would also see that Obama is doing everything Hitler did including indoctrinating your kid with propoganda.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Johnny 5

    These aren't threatening executive actions lol. It's just a list of 23 items of common sense. Obama fears the rise of the american people and he's smart to do so.

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