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.

Details emerge on gun control proposal

NRA: Obama an ‘elitist hypocrite’

Opinion: No, hypocrisy is at the NRA

Oregon sheriff: 'Unconstitutional' gun control laws won't be enforced

GOP senator vows to fight ‘king’ Obama

soundoff (1,548 Responses)
  1. matt

    You don't need a ar15, just like you don't need to have a Ford mustang, or eat McDonald's everyday. The difference is more people will die from the latter 2 today, than will ever die from a ar15.
    I would also like to point out to people only about 4,750,000 and growing are in the NRA. But the others 165,000,000 plus/minus aren't, but we like our rights too!
    Of all the gun crime only 326 resulted in death from long guns, and 1.7% of those would classify as a assault weapon
    The numbers don't justify the action
    People meed to be more responsible and accountable, but a ban would flat out be a unenforceable waste of time. Just by the administratoon mentioning the intent of reinstating a ban that didn't work last time, has sold more guns the last 4 months than in American history. Major ar15 makers say there's a 3 year backorder now on new ar15 s
    Millions more on the streets now, and its not illegal, to buy, sell, trade, inherit, them as of right now anyway
    How are you gonna track down a hundred million guns and a billion magazines that don't have serial numbers is anybody's guess a potential legal if not lethal problems will result.

    January 16, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JD

    Bad news! After seeing how some of you loud mouths spew off at others with your vile and hatred comments, you didn't make it. Turn in your weapons and take your pills!

    January 16, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BMDPD

    Yes Brock, but they are going after rifles.

    January 16, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. amieholm

    I am so against these children being present, it is exploiting them because they have no idea what is going on. You should not hide behind children for events like this. We as adults are supposed to take care of them and all this is doing is making sympathy for one side or the other. It makes me sick. This country is so broken I don't know if it can ever be put together again. It is so PC that is is dividing the country against itself.

    January 16, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Crocker

    Hey what a neat way to get around the voting public. Sign a bunch of executive orders. Gotta give it to the ole Kenyan....

    January 16, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • brock

      just like every president before him. But i'm sure you were equally as critical for them as well

      January 16, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Exactly Brock. These people would be critical of him if he announced a cure for world hunger. They complain just because they are so misinformed.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |

      Hey! You ever find those WMD's ?????????????????????????????????????????

      January 16, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • vetguy

      I am sure you felt the same way when the idiot Bush signed hundreds of executive orders besides his signing statements refusing to follow laws passed by congress and of course lying us into war and destroying our economy and violating our rights and human rights in general...i bet you long for the good old days..too bad Obama cannot sign an order agiainst fools and idiots

      January 16, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. vermont

    2nd Amendment gives us right to own semi automatic sporting rifles .

    January 16, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Anonymous

    Thank you, because I have the disability mentioned, and I kinda panicked when I saw this, so I acted inpulsively, which surprised me, since it's been a while since I've done something like this.

    January 16, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. murcielago8898

    There are 270,000,000 guns in the United States. 9 guns for every 10 people. You know good and well you cannot ban them because you can't kill 9 out of every 10 people to take their guns. It will never happen. Guns are America. Without guns, America would have never existed. Without guns, America will cease to exist. 9 million more guns are made and imported into America each year. Get on with a real solution. Throw freaks and lunatics and freeloaders in the can, if you want to do something.

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

      We now have half this nation that wants communism and call this Amerika now.

      January 16, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Frank Rizzolio

    Yeah sure pal. You are obviously a left-winged moonbat so lying just comes as natural as breathing to your ilk. After 911 the flagrant use of paranoia went by the wayside. Just because Zero is your acting joker in chief doesn't mean anything has changed in DC. They will take and take until we are helpless slaves. They will start with the weak like you.

    January 16, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. murcielago8898

    270million guns in the United States. 9 guns for every 10 folks. You know good and well you cannot ban them because you can't kill 9 out of every 10 people to take their guns. It will never happen. Guns are America. Without guns, America would have never existed. Without guns, America will cease to exist. 9 million more guns are made and imported into America each year. Get on with a real solution. Throw freaks and lunatics and freeloaders in the can, if you want to do something.

    January 16, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Shorthanded

    Why would anyone want to own a military type assualt weapon with a 100 round magazine designed for Mass Destruction on a battlefield at their home, is mind boggling? Only takes one bullet to drop a person if you require 100 rounds, pack it in you can't aim go to gun school. Obama isn't removing your right to use, store, show off your guns he is banning weapons to protect your children at school from crazies with multiple magazines loaded with thousands of bullets to not let little Jane or Billly from returning home from school one day. Protect your children you can't do it if your at work!!!!

    January 16, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • jtswife

      Why do people want fast cars? Because they want them and if it was about protecting the children( which its cute how he uses them to win people over) then he would put armed guards in the schools

      January 16, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • JC

      Why do you need a car that goes 120 MPH?

      January 16, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank Rizzolio

      Obummer could care less about our children. Get back to reality and if you care about your children then get them the heck out of government schools. They are not nor will they ever be protected there. Send them to where Obummer sends his children. A private school with 11 armed security professional;s not to mention all the secret service agents.

      January 16, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. reno

    A pair of boltcutters to cut the lock on the sprinkler system feed, a gallon of gas, and a 2×4 stud to block a door from opening, all in the hands of a madman bent on mass murder, would worry me quite a bit more than some quick shots to the head.

    January 16, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Orage

    Ask Obama what happened to all the guns going to Mexico? Or hey the other people arrested at sandy hook that seem to have disappeared?

    January 16, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • jtswife

      well I am thinking the government should be going to jail for giving criminals guns. I mean he did say to he was going to enforce harsh penalties on people selling guns to criminals

      January 16, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. GOD of all GUNS

    I do not see what #17 is doing. Do the health care workers not know to tell an authority figure that someone is a threat. IF not then they need to start hiring some people with COMMON SENSE

    January 16, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jdean

    Your complete misunderstanding of what it means to be an American can be summed up in your sentence..." The government ALLOWED YOU HAVE THESE WEAPONS RIGHT?" What you don't seem to get is that "the government" doesn't have the right to "allow" or "disallow" our rights under the Bill of Rights. Our rights DO NOT originate from the government and hence the government has no power to allow or disallow them. In fact, almost the only thing they are "allowed to do" is protect our rights. That is their long forgotten function. Further, they are specifically prohibited from infringing on the right to bear arms. Perhaps if you understood more about your own country you could make more meaningful contributions to it.

    January 16, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Redneck gun nuts ruin our country

      I think my safety is a right..... And if I have to limit the mass amount of freedom we have to protect my safety from gun nuts like you than I'm pretty okay with that.

      Safety comes before freedom. It's that simple and we experience that in everyday life. If you worked in a factory that allowed everyone to do what they wanted than how safe would that work place be? Not very. Rules are in place to protect our safety. Yes sometimes we have to sacrifice some rights but if it betters the overall people than its a must.

      January 16, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • rbl

      If you are willing to give up liberty in exchange for security then you deserve niether and you shall receive niether

      January 16, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
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