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. Richard Mincher

    DE-FEDERALIZE the National Guard. Return sole control of the guard to the state governors. What do you have to do to secede from the union? I'm a liberal leaning democrat that can no longer accept this loss of our liberties...

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

    Why should we do anything? Those were just 30 little kids that got chewed up by a WMD.

    Does that upset you? Heck, it's only 30 here, 30 there. Get over it. We don't need any changes in this nation – everything is perfect just the way it is.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Aachilly

    Oh boy, watch out – all the bad guys in the world are going to turn in there high capacity clips and assault rifles now. This is not going to change anything, but make things harder for the US citizens who love there 2nd amendment rights. We need to look at Israel’s schools, trust me when I say – No one would dare go near the schools with the intent of hurting children – because they would be dead 100 yards away from the school. They have there schools totally protected, with armed guards and snipers..... Now that’s how we protect the children.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      Yes... Israel is an oasis of sunshine happiness isn`t it?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dahimm

    Executive action 16, declaring that " ..the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes." What is this guy smoking???? Read the actual language and make your own determination...

    Pages 2038-2039 of the Affordable Care Act.
    (1) WELLNESS AND PREVENTION PROGRAMS.— A wellness and health promotion activity implemented under subsection (a)(1)(D) may not require the disclosure or collection of any information relating to—
    (A) the presence or storage of a lawfully possessed firearm or ammunition in the residence or on the property of an individual; or
    (B) the lawful use, possession, or storage of a firearm or ammunition by an individual.

    (2) LIMITATION ON DATA COLLECTION.—None of the authorities provided to the Secretary under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or an amendment made by that Act shall be construed to authorize or may be used for the collection of any information relating to—
    (A) the lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition;
    (B) the lawful use of a firearm or ammunition; or
    (C) the lawful storage of a firearm or ammunition.

    (3) LIMITATION ON DATABASES OR DATA BANKS.—None of the authorities provided to the Secretary under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or an amendment made by that Act shall be construed to authorize or may be used to maintain records of individual ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gabe

      Focus on the word require. Doctors inquiring about gun ownership does not equate to you being REQUIRED to tell them anything. I imagine most people wouldn't anyway. Every word counts in legalese. Tempest in a teapot. Gun control will never pass the house regardless of how you feel. Don't sweat it. Really.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. NRA is useless

    well-o-well the dark days have descended upon the dark ones, time to come into the light Carl! ..we can totally see you Carl!
    You'll have to let go of ...MY precious... MY P r e c i o U S!

    January 16, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. midview132

    Some people in here need to get a clue. Dont give me this crap that we need assault riffles to take on the government if they ever attack us and we need to defend ourselves against tyrrany. If you idiots, for one minute think that your pea shooter can stand up to the most advanced army in the world you have got mental problems and need to not own a gun. Dont give me crap about we did it before we can do it again, this isnt the 1700s where almost all guns are the same. Hey, Im a gun owner, I take part in hunting and shooting sports, I do not need an assault rifle, because as Freud would say, I dont feel inferior in other parts of my body. I'm not a sissy that needs to carry my gun on me at all times so I can feel big and powerful, I have self confidence on my own. MORE GUNS NEVER MAKE A BAD SITUATION BETTER!

    January 16, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. thaNorthStar.com

    so what if we have a tyranical government & a dictator who doesnt want to bomb the population & destroy all the resources with nuclear bombs, but instead they just want to use police & military to round everybody up & place them in camps/prisons?
    i mean what would be the best way for them to go about doing that?

    January 16, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Simon

    The reason why people detest liberals is their inability to participate in a rationale discussion. Name calling never solves a problem. If you would like to resort to it, then kindly do so in forums such as MSNBC or Bill Maher's show. They encourage such behavior. Regards.

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

      President Obama is not a liberal – he is an American moderate – about at the 45% scale. President Bush was also a moderate, around the 55% scale. Palin and McCain are closer to 90% conservative.

      Thank you President Obama for reinstating the President Reagun assault weapon rules. TeaBillies applauded those rules when their President put them in place.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Simon

      Dear Sly,
      Where in my comments did I say "Obama is Liberal"?
      Thank you,

      January 16, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Wallace

    Recent KU research found that family habits are key to controlling childhood obesity. You mean it's not the food's fault? That inanimate object that doesn't act by itself, is enjoyed by billions, and abused by a few. It's only purpose is to add calories anyway... you don't need that much or that type of food, and we need to save the 100,000s that die from abusing it... leaving children without a family. We should ban the unhealthy food causing this epidemic, and have people register their daily meal intake with the health department. Wait a sec, must be thinking of something else...

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

    When we all finish spouting off about who is right who is wrong- do one thing and picture the face of a 6 year old blown away, the body of a little child full of bullet holes or the arms and legs of a sweet little kid shattered-all dead or course.
    Then ask yourself what you think of guns if those pictures were of your child, cousin, nephew, niece, sister, brother, the ones you could hardly recognize. What a beautiful life our spouting off gave them! They deserve more than loud mouth
    talk. Guns killed them, people allowed it to happen-now who is right and who is wrong?

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

      Yeah and then think of the twisted bodies in vehicles that have been hit by drunk drivers. Let's ban alcoh... Oh wait we tried that already. Try working on problems that kill and injure many innocent people the firearms.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. J Lovejoy

    Because our elected leaders won't do their job and impeach him.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. idiotsryou777

    Hollywood is the PROBLEM, not GUNS.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jim j


    January 16, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. DC1973

    Because Executive Orders exist to allow a president to make it easier for law enforcement officials to do their jobs.

    Because that's what a president's job is.

    Because that's what these Executive Orders do.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Al Orlando

    It is so obvious. It is common sense. The fewer rounds availale to the law abiding citizen the fewer deaths. I can't believe anyone could dispute this. My understanding is that since Coumo got his bill passed 100.000 magazines have been given to the police and 10,000 illegal M-4, M-16s have been given to the police. Ther were 386 crimes commited with rifles.... Thank god that is over. Oh BTW is there a dealth enalty in NY for having a magazine over 7 rounds? We need to kill the 450,000 people that have such magazines in New York.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
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