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. Eriberto Aguilar

    I'm not sure how much of what's contained in these 23 actions really has the effect of limiting gun owners' rights to own firearms. I was expecting him to do a lot more than this. I'm not sure what the NRA has to complain about.

    January 16, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • AK all Day

      You should like you are not sure about a lot of things. Come back later when you have a grasp on what is going on here and something to add.

      January 16, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eriberto Aguilar

      "AK all day (except when mommy puts you down for your nap": It's called a rhetorical device. You should try going to school for a while instead of pretending that ignorance is somehow a good thing.

      January 16, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. huh?

    12 and 19 doesn't work too well if you are a school official not allowed to have a gun incapable of removing the threat. sounds like lots of words from our President without any substance.

    January 16, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bankrupt 1

    that guy on tv right now (with cornell?) is wrong. criminals do get guns. some got them from the police. not gun shows. not stolen.

    January 16, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Piz

    So our government wants to ban assault weapons! Please define an assault weapon? There is no definition, therefore I will define it for everyone. Any weapon – rife, pistol, shotgun, muzzleloader, knife etc...that's an..automatic, semi automatic, single shot, 30 shot ..... that is used to assault someone is by definition an Assault Weapon! So by definition all weapons used to assault someone should be banned! Therefore our government wants to ban all weapons. So much for our 2nd Amendment.

    January 16, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • marilyn

      I love you Obama

      January 16, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • marilyn

      Your so awesome, your heart is so pure. I am glad YOu care about peoples lives that you want to reduce the violence.

      The bang bang your dead cause I'm having a bad day is a harder for someone today cause your U , your so special.
      love you always xoxoxo

      January 16, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • jp

      Your a moron

      January 16, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ronald

      Did Conservatives call Reagan a 'gun grabbing commie' when he helped pass the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban?

      January 16, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Geo

    "One failed attempt at a shoe bomb and we all take our shoes off at the airport. Thirty-one school shootings since Columbine and no change in our regulation of gun" – John Oliver

    The only reason the Republicans are fighting this is because it's President Obama. The party as a whole (not select individuals" could care less about gun control; they just don't want President Obama to be the one to pass it.

    It's a sad state of affairs when a tragedy such as Sandy Hook only pushes us apart instead of bringing us together.

    January 16, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • ohbehave

      Yes...... the shoe thing was ridiculous.....and the gun control stuff is ridiculous.

      Gun ownership has skyrocketed over the past decade.
      Gun violence has gone down.

      So let's step on the freedoms of the civil, law abiding people?

      January 16, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • SUNDEV

      Couldn't agree more

      January 16, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Hamsta

    Fact: Obama is a Nazi.

    January 16, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • AK all Day

      Seriously, I think you may be on to something here. Tell us more.

      January 16, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ronald

      Did Conservatives call Reagan a 'gun grabbing commie' when he helped pass the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban?

      January 16, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RudyG

    What a hypocrite! If he REALLY wanted to go after the guns he and the Dems would do a lot more. Playing demagogue again. And the ignorant liberal tools eat it like apple pie! He and the Dems are as much in bed with the NRA as the Repubs. Look at the campaign money trail!!! Now let's see what the Dems in Congress actually pass....
    I voted for this inept demagogue in 2008....that kool-aid must have been in the water big time!! At least the Repubs SAY what they are!

    January 16, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Frank Rizzolio

    "Re-blogged this on Space, Time, and Everything in Between and commented:
    I think that what Obama is doing is reasonable and the right thing to do. It should not be extremely easy to purchase a Burger and no one besides the Clintons should have Big Macs and Whoppers. I have never understood why it made sense for us to sell those in the first place. "

    January 16, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. AK all Day

    There are already laws that specifically state you can not murder another person. More laws and less liberty are not the answers here. Back to the drawing board.

    January 16, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jim C

    Where is ANY comment about the entertainment industries part in this violent society we are creating? How many shootings, murders, and deaths do our children need to see in a day before we have a conversation about them? Oh wait they are liberals for the most part and above any scrutiny. Besides they gave a lot of money to THEIR friends in Washington, to help forward their agenda.

    January 16, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dazzy

      It's not there because it's been proven in study after study (thousands of them in total) that violent images/movies/video games have absolutely no affect on the average person.

      The ones that are off their rockers will get to the point of mass murder with or without them. If you'd like to give up all your freedoms so easily, you have the freedom to move to Iraq.

      January 16, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • jp

      Because there's no connection there, adam lanza played video games constantly because he was socially disconnected partly due to his mother talking for him constantly....meanwhile in all the other shootings none of the perps were big into video games....restricting video games and movies is a direct assault on freedom of speech and of expression and if you claim to be a supporter of freedom then you had better support all freedoms and not whichever ones you happen to like more that's not how this game works

      January 16, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sad4Willis

    Where I live, it is easier to buy a gun than it is to buy Sudafed.

    January 16, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Michelle

    Based upon some of the really immature comments on this serious subject, its easy to see why we need background checks. Obama and others have said until they are blue in the face that no one is trying to take anyone's guns, yet here you go again. This debate is about one simple thing – gun safety. If you are a responsible gun owner like me, then you know that you ahve to be extremely careful around firearms and you should want others to as well. Too bad so many listen to these fringe people who think the British are coming so we have to go get military style weapons. Or even worse, some even think the government wants your guns. Grow up and then let's talk about gun safety in an adult manner – please. You want police in all the schools now? Ok – but guess what? That cost money to hire all those people. How many per school? One for each door? If you are also concerned about the deficit, then where does that money come from? Should each state figure that out? States like La, Ms,Ga, SD, ND are going to have a real problem coming up with that money. You want teachers to start packing? By the time they get one bullet off, 10 people will be dead already. My point is this – it is cheaper to try to bring this under control than to start trying to have people packing everywhere you go – malls, theatres, churches, schools, office buildings, etc. We have got to do better than this.

    January 16, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kathryn A

      Whoa, whoa, whoa. ND is the only state not in recession, is it not? We were considering getting rid of property taxes in June because of the amount of money flowing into and around the state. We could get the officials for the schools.

      January 16, 2013 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. TJ

    Much ado about nothing. Nice job pimping out kids to push an agenda. So we'll add the 20 odd decrees to the list of thousands of others on the books restricting gun ownership, and promptly forget about them, as not a one of them will do a thing.

    Oh, it will do one thing (sorry), it will drive people away from mental health professionals for fear of having their private sessions ratted out to the cops. Good going guys. Shrinks have a duty to protect the privacy of their patients second only to the confessional. So much for that.

    As for background checks on private sales? How exactly are private sales going to be monitored anyway? Particularly with tens of millions of untraceable (having no way to track the firearms beyond their initial purchaser) firearms out there already?

    It's high time to start ignoring his Majesty and start using common sense.

    January 16, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. James Earl Ray

    Did someone call me?

    January 16, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. B

    Obama is an iIdiot.. Well his security people have guns, take them away..and his kids go to a school where the guards have guns.. I guess his kids are more special then anyone else’s.. I hate to tell you Obama sht head there NOT.. Go back to where you came from and stay there… Why Don’t you take cigarettes away from people because that causes more deaths then guns do. Get a life Obama and stop trying to take everyone’s else’s away…

    January 16, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Loreeeee

      Uh, no one is taking your guns away.

      You plan on selling them to criminals or something? Did you actually read the mandates? Comprehend them?

      January 16, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
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