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. thaNorthStar.com

    Im not sayn gov is out to get us. im sayn that has happend many times and history repeats when people forget.
    im also sayn its important to be prepared for worst scenerio bcz if we arent, then its all over for America & freedom forever.

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

    None of these orders will really do any good. Arming and training teachers how to use the weapons will. Criminals don't give a damn about laws. Otherwise they would not be criminals. When I was 23, I had a .38 put in my face by someone that was on parole for assault with a deadly weapon. He obviously didn't care that he wasn't supposed to have a gun.

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

      ok, who pays for the training for the teachers?

      January 16, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. brad

    F O-blame-ya

    January 16, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • brock

      great comment!

      January 16, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Name*nate

    This is a victory for all the criminals in our country. A major defeat for law abiding citizens. What's next a sign saying this family un armed in your front yard?

    January 16, 2013 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • De Odorizer

      Paranoid? Being sissy? Nobody is going to take your existing weapons away. But some limitations and rules are put in place to make it harder for nut cases to get weapons. Remember, you used to drive without seat belt, now it's law. Did that take away your car?
      Greetings from a liberal, tax paying, gun owning veteran.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ken

    The list of 23 makes perfect sense. I am an NRA member and proud gun owner. Kudos to Joe Biden and the President. However, I do not support limitations on magazines – makes no practical sense. I do not support assault weapons ban – is not in alignment with new rifle technology/sport interests. Get touch on criminals, get our mental health debacle fixed, identify and control with a heavy hand – homicidal maniacs. These are what we need to do to begin to fix this problem.

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

      If you need more than one or two you must be a really bad shot.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • brock

      Thanks for being a reasonable commenter!

      January 16, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • GD

      Good comment Ken!

      Disclaimer: I'm not a fan of this president at all!!!

      However, the 23 executive orders are right on par, and will do more to protect america than the legislation he's proposing to congress (which will have no impact to curbing violence; only restrict law abiding citizens rights).

      January 16, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Flashman

      I agree Ken. I'm a gun owner and have no problem with any of these, except maybe #2 (I'm more a 1st Amendment kinda guy than 2nd). While a number of them (as is the case with many EO's) are basically mom & apple pie, I wonder how #14 & #16 will collide with provisos inserted with NRA backing into current laws? Not that I disagree, but can an EO trump a law? That we've had no ATF director for almost a decade is a national disgrace. Maybe this will finally free the logjam.

      January 17, 2013 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  6. Gun Owner

    Its just slowly going to creep in just like everyting else has till its acceptable it just takes baby steps to take away the right of a nation, Spend all that money on getting into the black market gun club and deal with the source.

    January 16, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RAWoD

    Any member of congress that would rather bend over in front of the NRA needs to be removed. ANY and EVERY one.

    January 16, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. thaNorthStar.com

    when did people start teaching our kids that they can trust politicians ? did that start around same time they started teaching them that guns are bad & dangerous?
    so we just ban things like 20oz soda instead of educating people & teaching them how to handle responsibilities that come with personal freedom?
    last time i checked, the government isnt suppose to do barely anything, especially not things like policing our communities & protecting us from danger

    January 16, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • brock

      " educating people & teaching them how to handle responsibilities that come with personal freedom?"

      kind of like what the executive orders the president signed do?

      January 16, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      well said.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MsRepub

    Key symptoms of Republican Peers
    Delusions and hallucinations are the symptoms that make paranoid schizophrenia most distinct from other types of schizophrenia.

    Delusions. In paranoid schizophrenia, a common delusion is that you're being singled out for harm. For instance, you may believe that the government is monitoring every move you make or that a co-worker is poisoning your lunch. You may also have delusions of grandeur — the belief that you can fly, that you're famous or that you have a relationship with a famous person, for example. You hold on to these false beliefs despite evidence to the contrary. Delusions can result in aggression or violence if you believe you must act in self-defense against those who want to harm you.

    January 16, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. porsche80

    Are you a moron or what? Have you read the Bill of Rights? Have you read the 2nd Amendment? I didn't think so, where in hell do you have the right to explain to me what type of guns are described in the 2nd Amendment. Since when did the 2nd Amendment ever say anything about hunting? Read it STUPID!!!! And last of all the government has not given me this right, IT IS A GOD GIVEN RIGHT. Go educate yourself and let the adults talk. On one positive note if there are more idiots like you maybe the conservative right wingers will give a second look at the abortion issue!!!!!!

    January 16, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Eric

    Assault weapons already are "ban" in most if not all the states. So this was a waste of tax payers money. And, they already do background checks too. =_=....Most of the Assaults weapons are semi-auto not automatic that are sold in stores. Most of the automatic weapons Ive seen are own by people who are/ or was in the military. sooo yahh

    January 16, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      There is an assualt weapons Ban in only a few states. Background checks are only required in sales from stores and dealers. Most buyers go to shows to buy since they obviously have something to hide. The mother of the CT murderer that provided her sicko son with guns was not in the military and many many gun owners have not ever been in the military. Next time check your facts before spouting off.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Iamrightyouarewrong

    Obama said at the White House. "If there's even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there's even one life that can be saved, then we have an obligation to try it."
    If this is true America what is next.
    Breath testing devices mandatory on all autos.
    All forms of tobacco outlawed.
    Universal plastic utensils.
    Where would it end.
    Somebody slap me I must be sleeping.

    January 16, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chase

      Actually breath testing on all vehicles would be a great idea. What you just told me is "I love driving drunk."

      January 16, 2013 at 2:58 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 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iamrightyouarewrong

      If even one life were saved is my point idiot.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • brock

      actually, most of the things you listed already have programs that over time have been proven to reduce incidence, such as reduced fatalities due to drunk driving, and reduced death from cigarette smoking. So your post reinforces the comment the president made.

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

      If one more of of our military personnel take there own life get rid of our military. It will save lives

      January 16, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. People like you are so off

    Like someone said earlier, the 2nd amendment for the right to bare arms is not for hunting, it's to protect citizens from tyranny. Fails safes don't need to be gotten rid or hindered just, because it has not had to be used yet. Idiotic people like your is how governments are able to slowly guide their societies into dictatorships and tyrannical police states. Stop being so naive. More would still need to be explain when it comes to those executive order due to the cloudiness of law rhetoric, however, the gun laws Obama is trying to pass doesn't solve anything. Videos from the news stations themselves even show that no AR-15 was used in the recent shooting in Newton, but hand guns were the weapon of choice.

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

    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 GOVERNMENT IS NOT OUT TO GET YOU YOU PARANOID FREAK!

    January 16, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • asche

      You have no idea what you just said.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |

    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 GOVERNMENT IS NOT OUT TO GET YOU YOU PARANOID FREAK!!!!

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