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. Sniffit

    Weakest king EVER

    January 16, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • superbole

      Not much of a "king," is he?

      January 16, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Troy

    "I really appreciate your viewpoint and respect your opinion, you have completely changed my mind..." said no one on these internet blogs ever...you can keep up the bickering everyone, but I'm afraid you are all just wasting your time, as I just did as well in posting this. Lol, foiled again!

    January 16, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Alex

    I think this actually some good legislation and i'm a strong gun advocate. as long as there is no AWB or mag limits, i'll be happy

    January 16, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sly

    All this just cause a few kids got their heads blown off?

    Wow, why would a President care about that?

    January 16, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. brock

    The biggest threat to our nation is reactionary ignorance, which is clearly being demonstrated here by responses based on NOT READING THE ARTICLE

    January 16, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      The best one is the person who asked for a list of the orders, and had two comments – two – that said 1. "We're not allowed to see them," and 2. "The Weekly Standard has the list."

      The article they just commented on is the list. And none of them realized it.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. sean

    Why isn't anyone talking about liability insurance for gun owners? If I own a car, I need insurance. If I own a gun I should be required to obtain liability insurance. In the event someone else gets a hold of my firearm and kills or injures someone, I am now liable, financially. Also the cost of premiums would be a deterrent in gun purchasing. This would not infringe on the rights of people to purchase firearms but who help ensure accountability and provide a cost deterrent for gun purchases. Plus it would make gun owners more responsible in securing their firearms in safe places.

    January 16, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Houkoten

      While not an unreasonable observation, the devil is in the details. Such details would have to include instances of theft and how that would impact insurance premiums and if those premiums should continue in lieu of current lack of ownership. Another avenue would be how each individual is rated, since credit scores would not reflect relative safety within the home, in addition to possibility for criminal action. It would also bias against areas higher in crime rates where folks would have more reason to want to defend themselves from other lawless individuals.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • DMA

      Then you might as well have to insurance your kitchen knives, baseball bats, hammers and any other thing that someone has used to injure or kill another.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • brock

      Actually, DMA, your point is irrelavent because none of those things have been shown to cause large numbers of casualties in a short amount of time. When was the last time there was a "baseball bat" massacre where 20 people were killed in under 60 minutes, by one person with a bat? If you use ACTUAL DATA to make decisions, they tend to yield good results

      January 16, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • DMA

      @Brock Look at this link. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2012/12/14/china-school-stabbings/1770395/
      Happened in December also.

      Next time you should study before claiming someone else's point is irrelevant.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • KELLY

      DMA, the major difference, between guns and your list of potential weapons is that the primary and exclusive purpose of a gun is to maim or kill. The primary and lawful uses of kitchen knives, baseball bats, and hammers, are to cook, play and build. Any other actions go against their intended purposes. And none of them require a license to own or use. I believe in the idea of require liability insurance, in light of the fact that so many 'borrowed' and stolen guns play a part in homicides each year. This might help to address that, by making gun owners more invested in practical gun safety.

      January 16, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. petersenp

    Can anyone explain to me why a ordinary citizen of this country needs to own an assault weapon?

    January 16, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • RonSwanson

      Is it called the "Bill of Rights" or "Bill of Needs"? Do you need a car that travels faster than 70 mph? Are higher speed vehicles more dangerous than low speed vehicles? Should we ban all vehicles that travel faster than 70 mph?

      January 16, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hamsta

      To keep an increasingly intrusive government in check. Google CPS CORRUPTION and you won't believe what you read but I know it to be true because I saw it happen to my freind's kid with my own two eyes. Now moochelle wants access to your refridgerator, it might be your kid sold to a pimp next because that J-E-L-L-O pudding pop wasn't wrapped in a tomatoe.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • DMA

      Why does any normal person need a cell phone with internet access, games, texting ability or camera functions. Because they want it. Who are you to question why one person wants something. Heck, texting while driving has killed some people too. Why not attack AT&T?

      January 16, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • stacy

      Why can't I have one? It is not doing anything to bother you. It and several others have been in my closet for about 30+ years now and they haven't bothered anyone. Why should people own items that can be used as clubs? They kill more people each year then rifles. Is it better to ban a firearm that can kill many people at once that is used in tragic crimes a few times a year or to let people die in ones or twos mayn more times a year. It is not the tool you should be araid of.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Nick

    I think it is sick that this president crys over children but ignores the unborn. Which number is greater? Hypocrite

    January 16, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zabazoom

      One is a child the other is a zygote

      January 16, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • elltee

      55 MILLION children killed in abortions, but hey that's ok

      January 16, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • DMA

      You are 100% correct.

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

      Moms can do what is best – so butt out of their business.

      It's fine if you enjoy seeing 30 kids with their brains blown off, and don't care. You are a typical Republican – only thinking about yourself.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Name*penguin

    I have a right to travel, right to free speech, right to religious freedom, as well as a right to bear arms. Does this give me the right to claim someone is a pedophile and spread this slanderous message with my 8 spouses (some of whom are the same gender) traveling state to state in my tank? All our rights have limitations, so make a case for why these controls are unreasonable.

    January 16, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Hamsta

    Hitler is Obam's mentor, do exactly as "the fuhrer" did.

    January 16, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • brock

      based on your extensive research of hitler and obama?

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

      You vill eat it AND you vill like it !!!!!

      January 16, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mulehead

      Just remember – you have to register an email to post on here. They can track any and all ip hits to this site – soon they'll come knocking on your door....may already be on the way.....you just never know.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • becool

      Hitler actually loosened gun control measurements implemented by the Weimar Republic.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Houkoten

      Yay we have a goodwin award here.

      I'm surprised they just don't filter out comments automatically that use that for the center of their argument (which incidentally doesn't exist).

      January 16, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. 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 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • elltee

      and how do you "trust" the person regulating the guns, that is a lot of power tied up in a few individual's hands, no thanks

      January 16, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • bEAR

      Person(s), everyone should be involved, it's their weapons. If everyone is so keen on keeping their liberties maybe it should be more of a community effort, train as a community, create militias.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. James T

    Second amendment people: keep your guns, they are yours. By supporting legal assault rifles and anything but rigous as hell gun control, you are endangering us whether you accept it or not. Look, if I have a president that differs with me there must be a sizeable segment of society that does not share my views. Well, if you are an assault rifle champion, wake the hell up to reality.

    January 16, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Chris

    This is a welcome relief for Americans who have been wondering who will protect us from the so called "responsible gun owners" who make up reasons (excuses) to do nothing about the unique gun crisis that this country has established. This one is for the kids ...

    January 16, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Hamsta

    All hail Obama, our new Nazi leader.

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

      Ah i see you like to keep posting the same unorginal information. Quite an unfortunate waste of time for you

      January 16, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MarineArmorer

    You want to stop crime? Put criminals behind bars and keep them there if they are repeat offenders. I'm talking about 3 strikes and your done. Disarming law abiding citizens does nothing to stop crime. Criminals are criminals becuase of their lack of respect for the law. You want to be effective with reducing gun violence lock those who do wrong up. Mental illness? Yes back ground checks that allow mental illness blocks are good. Again this doesn't prevent anyone who wants an illegally obtained gun from getting one. Many of you are missing the point. It's really alarming. Passing laws that will hold criminals for longer or indefinite will work. Passing laws that will keep guns from people who would prevent a shooting (CCW) will not work. Sport Rifles, more inaccurately called "assault rifles" are no more deadly than any hunting rifle on the market. Sporting Rifles are no more military in functionality and effectiveness than any hunting rifle on the market. Just because your V6 mustang looks like a Shelby Mustang doesnt make it as fast. Appearences are decieving and so are politicians. One last note: Sporting Rifles are not military spec. They do not have the operating features such as an automatic seer (a seer dictates automatic and burst features) civilian rifles simply do not support that feature. Sporting rifles or "Assault Rifles" are not machine guns, they do not shoot faster than a hunting rifle or shotgun, or any pistol that is semi-automatic. I am a Marine Armorer (MOS2111) small arms repairman....I know guns.

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

      You want people to read your comments? Try reading the entire article so your comments dont make it immediately obvious you didn't read, because none of the content you commented on was in the article

      January 16, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Houkoten

      3 strikes is a relatively failed program in California which forces an exponential growth in the prison system and correctional facilities. As a byproduct of this, the costs have escalated and the federal authorities intervened forcing the release of inmates.

      Other social issues have to be addressed first before how punishments are determined in order to "stop crime" at the source.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • USVET

      @Marine – You are so right. I personally know of a twice convicted felon who was arrested in possession of a firearm who was released on bond just weeks later, commited 3 more felonies, was re-arrested and released on bond, killed a person, was re-arrested and released on bond, skipped bond, spent 17 months on the run, was re-arrested and finally held without bond. The revolving door of justice let this felon out on the streets twice because the law wasn't allowed to hold him without bond despite his criminal background. It took him jumping bond before they could hold him without bond. Too bad someone had to die in the process. As a felon he could not legally be in possession of a firearm, yet he had one. That should have been the charge that kept him behind bars. These executive orders will do nothing to stop criminals from getting guns. Anti-gunners please note: I said criminals, not law abiding citizens.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
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