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. Jamesnoot

    The Musket was an assault weopon in the 1700's. it was the highest tech weopon one could have .

    January 16, 2013 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tom Fildes

    New Yorkers! Sign on to this class action lawsuit!!

    Lawyer : Jim Tresmond, Attorney in Buffalo, New York. Attorney phone is 716.202.4301

    Successfully represented clients in the past on Second Amendment issues in NYS Supreme Court. This case is pro-bono for all the gun owners of New York. According to Mr. Tresmond the new ban is illegal as it is an ex-facto law taking away previously owned property and he intends to file this action in Federal Court.

    We are looking for as many as possible to add to CLASS ACTION CASE:

    SEND Your Name and EMAIL ADDRESS and phone number to:


    January 16, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. PWM

    [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.

    Are we done now? Thanks, I'm off to buy another AR-15. Come for our guns, don't be surprised if you get the ammo first.

    January 16, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. James PDX

    I'm all for new gun regulation. However, most non-revolver handguns come standard with clips with a larger than 10 capacity and they don't make smaller clips for them. That means the majority of basic handguns would be banned. They need to adjust that number sensibly.

    January 16, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      The way Feinstein's bill reads it would ban all handguns. She wants to change the way assault weapons are classified. Taking the list from two characteristics down to one. One of the ways her list identifies assault weapons is items having a pistol grip.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. trinity

    most of these are redundant ... I don`t understand all the fuss being made about this, letters being sent and emergency plans (which already are in place) and gun safety training (which is already in place) Mentally ill and or criminals are not going to take gun safety courses or pay attention to having 10 rounds. Do you think your Fast and Furious guns were sold to people who would follow any of the gun control executive orders? Oops! They dont count they are in Mexico. As long as his hands are photographed signing something "good" in front of small children, they are clean.

    January 16, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • f8te

      Well if you don't understand then you are dumber than dirt. Go back to watching your amerikan idol or whatever your speed is. Pathetic moron believes the lies and exploitation tricks the bolsheviks use. Shameful ignorance = willful ignorance.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. pintoandangus

    Not that bad, unless the assault weapons ban and high cap ban are passed by congress, don't you make a jack ass of our country congress! Are law enforcement and miltary giving up on high cap mags? Didn't think so! Do you trust your gov't? Didn't think so!

    January 16, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • rker321

      You have stated that you don't trust your government, So who do you trust, ?

      January 16, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Juan

    "Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes."

    I guess my doctor will never know about the guns I own. Guess I'll just be another person with a secret.

    January 16, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • geeworker

      they will make it a felony to falsify the questioner that the doctors office give you about guns in your house. Felony = no guns and the ability for the government to take away the one you have. answering yes that you have weapons could mean that you are mentally unstable (rule 14) and again not legal for you to have weapons

      January 16, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • PDub

      Can't we just plead the 5th if asked that question and we have a legal right to own them?

      January 16, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • rker321

      If you are a responsible person, why wouldn't you tell your doctor if he or she were to ask about your gun ownership?

      January 16, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Juan

      PDub, the 5th wouldn't apply because the doctor is not an officer of the court, nor is it illegal to own firearms, nor are you on trial.

      rker321, because I don't trust anyone who has to report my owning firearms to the police. I don't know my doctor's views on guns. I don't know if he'll be more on edge simply because I own firearms. I don't know if he'll automatically consider me unstable if I tell him how I'm feeling blue one day.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ryan

    I think these 23 actions make perfect sense. I am a gun owner and agree with the work President Obama has done thus far namely in strengthening background checks (GOOD!) and the databases that feed them as to increase quality. I don't however believe that smaller cap mags will make crime fall. There is no correlation. I could change out a 10 round mag in less than a second. Mag capacity makes no difference. Neither does the "look" of the gun. Thus, why the assult weapons ban?

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

      I saw nothing in there about making sure states provide individuals a path to restore their rights. Guess once you're labeled crazy you're screwed. I guess people who are afraid of being considered "crazy" will just not go to the police and let the sickness fester. Awesome job Mr. President.

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

      rule 14 ??? this pave the way for the CDC to say that owing a weapon is mental illness

      January 16, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. James PDX

    The prior assault weapon ban was written by politicians completely ignorant about guns. They need to draft a new version with true gun experts as consultants. I fear they are going to mess this up badly.

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

      They already don't have the votes for an AWB. They can't loose public opinion either by promoting actual facts on guns as opposed to what looks scary. CNN was known for doing this too. Look at the 1994 AWB when CNN was pushing to have it reinstated in 2004. They had a piece showing an "AR15." Except the one they showed wasn't what the public had access to.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. dazzle ©

    #16. I understand and support the rationale for this but patients do lie to their doctors. #22 and #23 are a given. The President should ensure that he has experts on the panel with Sebellus and Duncan in this "national dialogue."

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

      The problem is he wont. I'm more concerned about their "safe gun ownership" campaign.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Juan

    The 2nd amendment isn't about hunting your brainless, cowardly, nut job freak. Get a clue.

    January 16, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. elltee

    that big long list, and none of it is going to stop a criminally insane person from obtaining an AR already on the streets and using it, bravo

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

      you are 100% correct. so i guess that means WE SHOULD DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING?!

      January 16, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jelflis

    I just like how it says it will give incentives to schools who hire resource officers. Most schools can't afford resource officers, sorry. Most high schools in our country are in small rural communities that a rather poor. Both of my high schools I attended, both in rural Pennsylvania communities, had to cut over 5-8 teachers in the past two years because the government is cutting education funding, and had the library budget cut by 80% in one of my schools. One of my two high schools cut two teachers, an English teacher and a math teacher, just so they could higher a part time security guard. If the president enacts an incentive program for schools who higher resource officers, how will he make it fair, huh? He surely wouldn't make an unfair incentive program now would he? And for schools who can't afford officers will he hand out officers to those schools for "free"? Note: that "free" really would be community tax payers money.

    January 16, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • brock

      so what is your solution?????????

      January 16, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Reason

    Oh Obama, my savior! What an ingenious plan to save our nation! All hail Obama!!

    January 16, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dan W

    This is not how you approach gun control. How does this address the people using the guns?

    January 16, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
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