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. NormG

    Twice as many people were killed by fists and feet than all types of rifles. That is an FBI fact.
    More people were killed by kitchen knives than by rifles.
    12,000 people were killed by drunk drives.
    Nearly 1000 people were killed by people texting on cell phones while driving.

    The point is, all deaths from rifles of any type were only a little over 300. Why are we spending so much time on guns instead of real killers in the U.S.? This is nonsense. For the record, I do not own an assault rifle (whatever that is) nor a handgun, and I am not a member of the NRA and I AM a democrat. And I say this is all a bunch of BS and we need to stop even discussing gun control and begin addressing more serious problems our country faces. Good grief.

    January 16, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |



    January 16, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |



    January 16, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bill Kangas

    They all sound reasonable to me, and I own several firearms, including a SR556, Saiga 12, and a hanful of semi-auto pistol. I also make my living in the firearms business.

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

    HEAR YEE HEAR YEE!!!!!!!


    January 16, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    President Obama is doing the right thing.
    Some posts here show that their writers do not understand what the President has done.

    January 16, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. matt

    A ban on anything that's currently legal and protected isn't necessary, nor will it pass Congres, who know it would be unenforceable, a burden on the cash strapped states judicial systems, plus despite what CNN is telling you, most of us want to preserve the bill of rights as it was intended.
    We all hate to see these tragedies and we sympathize with the victims and there family's, that's why many of us own the guns we do
    Many of us are parents, husbands, wives, Co workers just like you. Having said that I agree there needs to more responsibility, and accountability, but I think it will end there.
    The ar15 alone for example has been made for the American public since 1963, that's 50 years, and about ten million ar15s later and hundred's of millions of magazines, that have been sold, traded, given, gifted, inherited since and that's just one of the rifles they want to ban, its also one of the most popular rifles owned in the us.
    With most of the shootings a handgun was used, and the FBI saying that 326 rifles where used last year in gun violence, of that 1.7% would classify as a assault type weapon. The numbers don't justify the action as horrible as it sounds. Reality you have a better chance of dieing by any other means in a lifetime than being shot by a assault rifle. That includes, car wrecks, fights, medical mistakes, crossing a street and even eating to much junk like McDonalds but where is the outcry there?
    Like I said a ban on assault type weapons is not going to happen again!
    The only thing getting assaulted is our bill of rights. And by doing so this administration has put several million more guns on the streets over the last few months than in American history! Obama and Feinstein win gun salespersons of the century!

    January 16, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Anonymous

    What about the people with "Mental Health Problems" such as Autism that are responsible and are careful with firearms? Are they going to have their guns taken away because other people with Mental Issues have problems with guns? This is violating amendments that protect people with disabilities, if the person is crazy I understand. But, what if you have a tiny mental health problem, does that mean that just because you have it- even if it's something that has been fully curbed and virtually nonexistent- you lose your second amendment!?

    January 16, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • brock

      I don't know. You should remain scared until you know the full story

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

      I don't think you have to worry, you would have to be considered a danger by mental health professionals in order to be barred from buying a gun.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jon

    Obama just passed 23 Executive Orders that don't actually do anything to help prevent gun violence. Needless to say, they don't do anything to curb gun ownership either.

    And yet, I'm sure we're gonna have a whole slew of gun-nuts proclaiming that the Revolution has started!

    January 16, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |

      And you KNOW all of consequences of todays action well into the future how?

      Where'd you get that crystal ball that peers into the future??! That things worth TONS of $! Maybe priceless! Where can I get one of those?

      January 16, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank Rizzolio

      Yeah all the while the Federal gubment is buying up all the worlds supply of ammunition. Gee wally why is that you idiot.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Don

    "Obama asks Congress to pass laws that would: require background checks on all gun sales" – okay, I'll ask: how do you run a background check on a sale that takes place in someone's home? Have an online database that can instantly report on any person, available to anyone else? I can hear the cries of "Big Brother" now (and, of course, that assumes the buyer is using his/her real name). Something tells me this will work about as well as the existing laws requiring all drivers of cars and trucks to be licensed.

    January 16, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • brock

      I guess we shouldn't do anything if it doesn't have 100% efficacy...

      January 16, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. john q public

    I will be the one protecting my family.not the cops,not the nazi laws being shoved done our throats by the nazi president.when they come after our guns,the 2nd american revolution will start and innocent people will be hurt.to the weak minded people who relected this bozo because he supports your union or what ever monetary reason you had.you will pay for it ten fold in higher taxes.you know who you are,ingnorant people.you have crippled your children and there children by destroying the american dream to obama taxes fore ever.shame on all of you who voted for this unqualified liar.

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

      Every one off your accusations is a lie. Therefore, so are you. Gun freak.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • A Concerned Citizen

      Given your impeccable grammar, spelling, and diction, you are clearly the pinnacle of intelligent and sophisticated society and discourse. So, on behalf of us "bozos" who "relected" the president, I'd like to say you're clearly correct and your stance is unarguably the only intelligent position to have. (Just for the record, this was sarcasm. Before you start posting on public sites, why don't you get a fifth grade education, you idiot.)

      January 16, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bama

      Learn to spell, then maybe people would take you seriously.

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

      Well my taxes went up $60 a week on Jan 1st , and my wifes up $40 thats over 5k a year, and my insurance premium almost doubled! So your " Dear Leader" has cost my family over 10k this year! So he could " Redistribute the wealth" But I guess that dosen't affect you as long as you still get that Government check i suppose! Anyone on Welfare should thank a Republican every chance they get since we pay for your food!

      January 16, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Janson Murphy

    Wow, this is just great. Will Obama also be signing an executive order to force criminals to follow laws? That'd be sure to work.

    January 16, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank Rizzolio

      Nah, Obummer wants them to keep theirs. Only the honest hard working right-wingers need turn in their guns.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. taxedmore

    #20 – Medicaid has to pay to check people. If somebody is so bad off they are on Medicaid how can they afford guns? And if they can afford guns they shouldn't be screwing the taxpayers by being on Medicaid.

    January 16, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. larry5

    These rounds of legislation are the precursor to the national security force Obama has talked about that will answer directly to the Administration and be used to enforce Obama's national security objectives exactly as he has stated (YouTube). Obama needs to make sure he can take care of the little people. First Obamacare with exemptions for important people, now gun control and next national security, all things he has talked about and has promised to do as his job to take care of us. No speculation any more.

    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 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
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