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)

    Most CONSPIRACY THEORY 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 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank Rizzolio

      I really hope you don't own any firearms. You sound very angry, unstable and mentally challenged. You might want to ask your mental doctor for a med change. Sounds like your on Prozac.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. lisbeth

    Well none of this sounds too tyrannical. Seems most of these horrific shooting sprees have been perpetrated by mentally unstable people using guns they would not have had access to if their mental state had been shared. The only problem is enforcement – I think there are already laws on the books about selling guns to mentally unstable people.

    January 16, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. SGU

    Time for the NRA cry babies.. A change is being made to their precious gun laws, something they are not use to.

    January 16, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Evan Boswood

    I am a student at lake Travis high school in Austin, Texas. What you signed may have caused the lockdown here. I want you to think about that. I'm not going to get mad like a lot of people would, but this could end very badly.
    Thanks a lot, Evan

    January 16, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • viaquest

      Sorry Evan but sadly the President does not care about you! unless your poor, hungry, illegal, ethnic, and voting!

      January 16, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Danny3

    There is nothing in these EO's that impact gun owners, that is unless, you are building an army at your house. Most of these are just widening education and improving information on background checks. Assault weapons shouldnt be in the hands of citizens.... that is what we have an Army and National Guard for. The rest of it is media hype whipping up fear.

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

      You just show your ignorance when you call a particular rifle an assault weapon. All firearms can be used for assaults. Most people that own AR's and other rifles like them are or were in the MILITARY idiot. The rest are law enforcement and government.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:57 pm | 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 GOVERNMENT IS NOT OUT TO GET YOU YOU PARANOID FREAK!


    January 16, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. movarth

    By issuing an executive order violating the bill of rights the current administration has dissolved any claim to legitimacy.
    This government no longer serves the people.

    January 16, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Since you have no legal or factual basis for making such a claim, this comes across as a declaration that you intend to break any laws signed by Obama. People who wantonly disregard laws are commonly known as criminals. Since you are criminally-minded (i.e. selectively following laws), you should not be allowed to own a gun.

      Everyone but you agrees on this. Go ahead and act up so we can lock you up.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Susan

    There is an old saying – If you sacrifice your freedoms for safety, you deserve neither. Read between the lines. Also, if the Government can have them, what will stop them from using these weapons on the people. The government works for us, not vice-versa. Again, when they come after the American people, I promise not to use a bullet in your defense.

    January 16, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jay (C&R Licensed)

    Wait, why is everyone whining? My state has the same laws already... I live in California and have been buying my guns the exact same way, along with hundreds of thousands of Californian gun owners. Why is anyone crying? Guess what? I'm still picking up a new wood stock Marlin 60 tubular magazine this weekend for plinking in the desert. Only people who cry about background checks and a 10 day wait should be banned from owning a gun. If you need a gun so urgently, you're probably going to do something bad. If you are so demanding, you're probably deranged.

    January 16, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sonic10158

    I am glad something is being done. I don't think outright banning guns is the answer, so this is definitely better

    January 16, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • vermont

      It is not some high things President asked , now so called Assault ban and high cap ban ain;t going to pass in Congress

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



    Most CONSPIRACY THEORY 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 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bobcat (in a hat)©

    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."
    He then went on to say to the public " Ask you representative if he / she supports thes recommendations I'm making. If they say no, ask them why."
    That's going to be funny to see all the crab walking and non-responses coming from them.

    January 16, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ricky

    Where is the discussion on violence in media??? This too needs to be examined to determine effect of film, gaming and cable's contribution to de-sensitizing our youth. I realize Hollywood is one of the Democrats base supporters, but they have responsibility to be accountable for their actions as well as the gun industry.

    January 16, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. brock

    8583 firearms deaths total. I see what you did there

    January 16, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. donjgen

    There are people who believe that gun violence in our country will be curtailed by removing a few guns off the street. Well over 10 million guns are sold in the U.S. every year. So what we reduce guns sold by 10%. Our society is satiated with guns. There are a few that have shot people dead because they have no moral conscience. What happened to there moral conscience? How many murders are walking the streets of America?

    January 16, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
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