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. Oliver

    I know the fringes on the right will cry Tyrant, but it seems to me reading these proposals for executive order are very, very tame. No mention of assault rifle bans, no magazine limits, just straightforward ideas about how to run background checks more efficiently and how to make sure things like the gun show loophole are avoided. Ideas on how to ensure those with mental health problems that may lead to violence are put into the system. Its my hope Congress works out the rest, but its unlikely considering the political climate. Maybe in 2014. Anyone who would call these actions anything but moderate is just pushing a personal agenda of Obama Bad, Guns Good.

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

      Just like the fringes on the left called Bush a tyrant? BO just absolutely has our best interest at heart. He cares so much for you and your family. Why don't you go visit him. Im sure he will make time. If not give him a call or write and he surely will get right back to you. I heard BO will start a big sweep of all the inner cities and get all the gang bangers guns and ammo from them. Then he is going to make a list of all those he deems mentally ill (all Christians and Conservatives) and send out the TSA (Brownshirts)....

      January 16, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • jc

      so what were the 23 executive orders ?????

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

    Look how he uses children to convince you that he knows what is bwst for you, samw thing Hitler did! Your president is a NeoNazi.

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

    The government has more weapons then we can think and more experimental weapons then we can imagine. You have to ask yourself, do they really need our weapons. I mean really.

    Tank vs AK4
    AR15 vs Drone
    SKS vs Nuclear device

    Need I say more?

    January 16, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. GOD of all GUNS

    challenge the private sector to develope innovative technoligies
    Oh sure challenge the private sector...but don't challenge the congress to do anything...even a budget, find out what happened in Libya, anything...just anything

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

      You forgot FAST & FURIOUS...

      January 16, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. yourmama

    23 Three Executive Orders which do nothing for Gun Control.

    January 16, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Roger

    Fortunately the new executive orders should eventually make it more difficult for people like you to get ahold of a gun...

    January 16, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Hamsta

    Do you know why he flip flops on everything from gun rights to gay marriage? Because his name is properly spelled : Barebacked by Hussein and Osama.

    January 16, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. HOPE

    I would to know if the President will be following this policy, or is he above the laws he is trying to inforce on the law abiding AMERICANS IN THIS COUNTRY!!!! If he is going to limit our rights, and belive it...he has no control to limit criminals. He will still have protection from the criminals you will not, further more you will not have any resistance to him or his administration. AMERICANS.... THIS IS HOW SOCIALISIM IS BORN!!!! DYING WILL BE THE LAND OF THE FREE....AND ALL THAT OPOSE HIS ADMINISTRATION!!! So you who support gun control please think.....You are the victim of a home invasion, they are armed, you are not!!! You call 911 on your cell, running leaving your wife and kids behind. Know you either talk to them, or you have no signal...do your wife and kids escape with thier lives??? Oh your protected, Obama said so WAKE UP PEPOLE.

    January 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Di3317

    The government is foolish if they think this is going to change anything, it only gives the government more control over the people. The reality is that we live in a violent society today. It's not the white picket fences of the 50's where everyone knew their neighbors & watched out for each other and parents were parenting their children. Now numerous children are being abducted from their own homes and killed. Kids are killing parents, parents are turning a blind eye to their children's behaviours, and everyone is blaming everyone else for their problems, and our criminal justice system is a joke. As long as I'm breathing, I'll protect my children in whatever way is needed. If guns are taken away from people who use them for protection, the criminals will still have theirs and they'll use them against anyone needed. In the Sandy shootings, this man was turned down when he tried to purchase a gun, but he still found a way to have guns, ammo, etc.

    January 16, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Al

    I do not understand why people are going so crazy about this article. Name one out of the 23 that infringes on your 2nd Amendment Rights? The country was crying for the President to do something and he did. He took the path of, not least, but no resistance and put the rest on Congress.

    January 16, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • JC

      Hussein only posted things he can do without congress. Look at Feinsteins bill coming up.

      January 16, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mark

    Average number of people killed when cops drop an active shooter = 14. Average number of people killed when a concealed carry citizen drops an active shooter = 2. One killed by the hands of an over medicated nut or a criminal is too many. This is why the elite have their children in schools with armed guards. Were any of the children there with the president in schools with armed guards?

    January 16, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Di3317

    When the President and all the government officials fire their armed security gaurds and leave their families unprotected just like the rest of us, then the people might listen. Please don't get me wrong, I know we need more gun limitations (assualt weapons, etc.), but you can't take away a person's right to protect their family.

    January 16, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. JC

    Why do you NEED a car that goes 140mph? Why do you NEED so many knives in the drawer when you can only use one at a time? Why do NEED an alcoholic drink when you have dinner?

    January 16, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. DarrellSF

    What really is most insane about the Republican/TeaP/NRA reaction to the President's executive orders is that he hasn't done anything that is unreasonable! I'm not going to go over points because they're written everywhere. But Obama DID NOT executively strip anyone of their rights to own guns! He's calling all his resources into action, and making sure our government agencies are working together to solve these issues. Nothing is set in stone, but now we can actually start doing something about gun violence.

    January 16, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mike

    Which one of the 23 orders are bad? Specifically and why?

    January 16, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank Rizzolio

      Name one that isn't already a law on the books that isn't being enforced.

      January 16, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
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