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. sjinsj

    "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? "

    The answer: You can't, short of locking the entire population up in concentration camps. To even make a statement like that is either abysmal ignorance or just plain stupidity. But it sounds all good and warm and fuzzy...to idiots...

    January 16, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. rdl

    im not against complete gun control. but i do feel as far as mental illeness probley about only 1% have really bad issues, even some one that never had been treated could end up violent

    January 16, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Annie

    If I was a reporter I would ask the President this....."Mr. President, why weren't you this concerned about gun control when it was inner city children being killed and wounded almost every day of the week? What made these children's death more important than any other child killed during your Administration with a gun?"

    January 16, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. michael

    are you kidding me?

    January 16, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. rdl

    just think those in the 911 didnt use guns

    January 16, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. chris

    Apparently not a lot of you people are war veterans. This hurts so many that fought for your liberty. WE are devastated by mental health issues that would not allow us to purchase or own firearms according to this but I speak for the entirety of the US Military when I say even though we are hurting we would never hurt the American People. A few bad apples does not reflect who we are so why are you guys agreeing with punishing us?

    January 16, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Crow

      Well said. To use the flawed science of psychiatry to justify stripping a people of their God given right to protect themselves from an abusive and tyrannical government is itself a crime. I don't own a gun but I do own a shillelagh and I understand the Const-i-tution allows me to own other weapons such as a gun without any attached restrictions. A gov't which systematically disarms its citizens is known as a 'police" state. A people who choose safety over freedom deserves neither safety nor freedom. Welcome to the New World Order and its fascist military-industrial puppets.

      January 16, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jeff S

    Im pretty sure we already have laws on the books that define how we handle those that deny life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to others. This is not about protecting freedom, this is about stopping someone from abusing their freedom before they even do it. Which in my opinion goes against the idea of freedom.

    January 16, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • VancCanadian

      In my country, I have the RIGHT to have FREEDOM from gun violence without myself owning a gun. It feels pretty good. I have the RIGHT to NOT own a gun.

      January 16, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. E

    I fail to see why people are saying that this will be the end of our right to own guns. It's not. The restrictions to keep criminals and the mentally ill from getting guns are just being enforced for a change. People really should read the law before they spout off about howit will be the end of the world.

    January 16, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Faiza

      Well said!

      January 16, 2013 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darren

      what part of 'criminals don't buy guns legally' don't you understand? If you have a been convicted of certain crimes, you couldn't buy a gun legally before today anyways.

      January 16, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Evie

      Are mentally ill people committing all the gun violence? Not at all. SO when the gun violence continues, who will be the next class of American citizens labeled unfit to own a firearm? It is the beginnings of a slippery slope that will not stop until the only people left with the protection of arms are police officers and the military.

      January 16, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Madstu

      Brother it is the first step in citizens loosing their rights to own weapons. You think that a statement written on a piece of paper is going to keep lunitics from having weapons, NO! Regular people will stop the lunatic, with there own gun!

      January 16, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Portland tony

    Poster said to avoid problems with semi-automatic long guns was for those opposed to them to not buy em...My concern is not my ownership ...It's your ownership that concerns me sir!

    January 16, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. brian

    It looks to me like the laws we have in place now with the exception of the bands on AR's and Mags. #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."
    OK the AG is a scary guy and I don't want he deciding who is mental. Say your family parished in some way. You need to talk to a shrink and get meds to cope for awhile. Or, all the first responders at Sandy Hook, they will need counseling and maybe meds. Are you now on that list?

    #21"Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations." What is ment by FINALIZING the regulations? have we been working on this? Seems to me they are finailzing their agenda

    January 16, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. StevenJ1981

    Just so everyone knows, an assault weapon wasn't used in the Conn. shooting. It was all hand guns, he left the AR-15 223. in the trunk of the car he drove to the school.

    January 16, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • chongo5640

      no he didn't he left his shotgun in his car he used both hand guns and the AR in the school.

      January 16, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darren

      that's funny Chongo, because everything I've read said they found an AR15 in the trunk.

      January 16, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Myscrilla

    I cant wait till they ban these guns. Anx for all of you racist from my cold dead hands people I WILL GLADLY TAKE THEM FROM YOUR COLD DEAD HANDS to save america.

    January 16, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darren

      what are 'these guns' referring to and how did you manage to throw the word 'racist' into a gun debate?

      January 16, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      That implies you are willing to kill the person first. Sounds like that is not what you really believe in.

      January 16, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. WakeUp48

    Barack Obama’s bold use of executive orders to ‘take action without
    Congress’ amounts to an outrageous unconstitutional overreach of powers,
    and is impeachable action on its face. And Obama isn’t even done; he
    has vowed to push Congress on a new assault weapons ban along with other
    legislative restrictions on the guaranteed 2nd Amendment, which “shall
    not be infringed.”

    Once again, it is generally abusive for a president to rule by executive
    fiat, and demands questions about the authority to do so. It is all the
    more unconstitutional for a president to take on a
    constitutionally-guaranteed right and attempt to reign it in through
    countless regulations, all without formally consulting Congress.

    January 16, 2013 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. wb

    get ready owners of firearms as feds won't be happy with taking just ar15s. soon they will come for yours. time to fight people. get ready to resist and if they come for you be prepared to hit back. hard.

    January 16, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      You sir need a background check!

      January 16, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • nismofo

      No worries, we will not have to give up anything...

      Although Senate Democrats like Dianne Feinstein will still make a high-profile push to renew the assault weapons ban and limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds, senior Democratic sources say it is hard to see those measures getting enough support to pass the Democratic-led Senate.

      Thank you Dems

      January 16, 2013 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JohnParryJones

    The 23 executive orders have the flavor of water. Irrelevant.

    I do think it's shameful that our president used children as a backdrop for the signings. Disgraceful. Pure politics.

    I also congratulate the president's advisors for not letting him bypass Congress. Banning weapons, etc., is in the purview of Congress not presidential executive orders.

    January 16, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
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