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. tad mann

    what will happen to the patient /Dr confidentiality act.Will your friendly Dr tell the govt you are not completely sane.
    The govt passed a law earlier stating a Dr cannot reveal nor can you ask for medical records for any use.Whats to stop anyone from going over the edge.Look out for this tyrant president.This has happened in other countries.

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

    The definition of a conspiracy theorist Scared M0R0N!

    most followers are "inclined to believe the government is out to get them" and is collaborating with the media. "They have this confirmation bias, as psychologists call it, to look for only evidence that supports their theories and disregard anything that says otherwise,"

    January 16, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. John Wingler

    I hope they ban guns nationwide. It will save many lives.

    January 16, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Juan

      As soon as all government officials, including but not limited to military, law enforcement, secret service, IRS, Dept. of Homeland Security, FBI, CIA, and countless other agencies, bureaus, and departments give up every single one of their arms, then we'll talk. Until then, molon labe.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. brock

    I think its sick that you think the government should be able to tell a woman what to do with her body

    January 16, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jelflis

    Yeah really, the 2nd ammendment isn't about hunting at all, so I'd like to know where you get your ideas from? Plus, the 2nd amendment doesn't specify any type of guns allowed to be own by citizens, so get that right too. Even people against guns in our country can accept that the 2nd amendment isn't about hunting and/or the exact type of gun.

    January 16, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. thaNorthStar.com

    if we keep going at this rate, this country will turn into that crazy backwards country Britain, where they have more gun murders each year than they have guns! atleast we arent as looney as that place!
    try to imagine a place like that! it really exists according to piers morgan! thatd b like the US having like 90000000000 gun murders or more a year!!

    January 16, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • sly

      Horray, the Stupids have arrived.

      The United Kingdom has one of the lowest rates of gun homicides in the world with 0.07 recorded intentional homicides committed with a firearm per 100,000 inhabitants in 2009 compared to the United States' 3.0 (over 40 times higher) and to Germany's 0.21 (3 times higher).[

      January 16, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |

    most followers are "inclined to believe the government is out to get them" and is collaborating with the media. "They have this confirmation bias, as psychologists call it, to look for only evidence that supports their theories and disregard anything that says otherwise,"

    January 16, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Petercha

    When do these executive orders become effective? Anyone know?

    January 16, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |



    most followers are "inclined to believe the government is out to get them" and is collaborating with the media. "They have this confirmation bias, as psychologists call it, to look for only evidence that supports their theories and disregard anything that says otherwise,"

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

      Ah the personal attack (see also: ad hominem). A favorite tool of the far left.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      Come on you clowns, the school door was supposed to be LOCKED ! And there was no there with any interest to thwart the threat with a legal permit and firearm. And there lies the problem.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • you crazy

      This confirmation bias you speak of is much more prevalent on the left rather than the right.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • sburns54

      Petercha: Yeah! Those far lefties! They should follow the lead of the far right and the republican party and never resort to personal attacks!

      January 16, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. MsRepub

    This is a great start! Pres. Obama thank you for putting human life before an object.
    Guess all of those with the "Fear Factor" and all those who want to terrorize the office of President and imprison the American People with their psychotic theories, can move on to the next conspiracy theory.

    Personally think that anyone who has paranoia about all this needs to have their gun and other weapons removed from their home.

    January 16, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • vech

      This is what tyranny looks like. Action like this justifies the 2nd Amendment. At some point they will take away the freedoms you like.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Name*Belinda

    MostCriminalsStealOrBuyTheirGunsOnTheBlackMarket. Why Do You Think This Law Will Work?

    January 16, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      Its just more incompetent government . Look at the newsman with a illegal clip and in their great wisdom they still do nothing because he's connected.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. humberto

    "But countries cannot dismiss the sufferings of great blocks of their people by dismissing some "demographics" as unworthy of attention."

    The focus on mental health does not apply to delusional political elitists and saboteurs, does it?

    January 16, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. The_Truth

    Can't make this stuff up: Rosen the Sandy Hook psychologist who cared for 6 children that day, is scared and doesn't know what yo do. People are talking about him as if he were part of some govt conspiracy...

    No he's scared that some nut will take out vengeance on him or his wife....

    "I'm scated, and I don't know what to do," he said....


    January 16, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChrisIA

      Rosen? You mean the bad actor that is a member of the screen actor's guild that changed his story of the events?

      January 16, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • bEAR

      Even if he is a fake, who's to say it isn't the news companies trying to get better ratings?

      January 16, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Hamsta

    Obama is The Beast From The Sea, the politician who is foretold to bring the AntiChrist to power. Don't believe me? Pick up your history book, he is doing everything Hitler did including indoctrinating your kid with propoganda. They even have you believing a NeoNazi is a white supremacist skinhead. The word Nazi translates as National Socialist Workers' Partyt. Who's the socialist? Redistribution of wealth is the core definition of socialism. Your president is a Nazi.

    January 16, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • brock

      and apparently you are a genius

      January 16, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • De Odorizer

      Hamsta, I grew up in West Germany after the war, my parents were affected by it.
      YOU, sir , have no idea what you are talking about. Fairy tales, that's all I can say, is what you try to sell as history lessons. Simplicissimus you are. Sad.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • rdj1066

      De Odorizer, thank you. People who have lived in America their whole lives like to imagine what they perceive to be a police state, fascist, socialist and tyrannical government when in fact they have no clue. Worse than that it trivializes the horrors that were actually committed. An assault weapons ban is not equivalent to the extermination of millions of people...ever. Grow up, and yes read a history book. Hitler didn't strengthen gun laws...he relaxed them.

      January 16, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • yeahright

      You need to up your meds.

      January 17, 2013 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |

    Oh Grow up you fear mongering, conspiracy theorist freak of nature! 2ND amendment gives U.S> citizens the right to bear arms ( Pistols, Shotguns and bolt action rifles! ). Only REAL hunter sportsman use bolt action or Bow / Arrows for hunting deer and whatnot. You know this! So stop playing to the fears and delusional psychotic nutjobs srying " the government is after me! BLAH BLAH BLAH!,, The government ALLOWED YOU HAVE THESE WEAPONS RIGHT? Well then, if the public can't seem to control their responsibly purchasd ASSAULT rifles then RE-INSTATE the 1994-2004 ban + additional measures! No ones coming to take ALL YOUR WEAPONS! THE WORLD DID NOT END 12/21/2012 AND THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT OUT TO GET YOU YOU PARANOID FREAK!!!

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