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. Garrett

    Stalin used kids as props as well..

    January 16, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Minority

    Pre-crime is coming. Just get on board.

    January 16, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Crocker

    Henry Ford said it best: "Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the American
    Government take care of him; better take a closer look at the American Indian."

    January 16, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • VancCanadian

      I'd say your President is just asking y'all down their to take RESPONSIBILITY. Literally "foreign" concept, I know. For you guys, it's just endless whining ad nauseam about MY RIGHTS! MY RIGHTS! MY RIGHTS! MY RIGHTS! MY RIGHTS!

      In other democratic countries, we care about RESPONSIBILITIES.

      January 16, 2013 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Gdaddy

    Interesting to me that about half of the list of 23 was telling the Government to do it's job!

    Then toward the end he picks up the NRA suggestion of putting Officers in schools

    Then he actually picks up the NRA discussion on Mental Illness.


    January 16, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bob owen

    All the feel good laws arent worth the paper they are written on if anyone can get whatever they want from across the border.

    January 16, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Truth Hurts

    Obama is an alchemist, He is going to turn my lead and tin into gold. Thanks Obama.

    January 16, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kelli

    Tyrannical king Obama strikes again!

    January 16, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • YY

      Kelli, bottom line is the 2nd Amendment is old and outdated. It is time to move into the 21st century and stop living in the past. You see very few muskets around these days. I don't think our founding fathers would agree with how things have turned out. In fact, they would be ashamed.

      January 16, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • maureen

      kelli u r so right i am askin for a shotgun for my B Day

      January 16, 2013 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Actually what I see is a president who is going to use this to close some loopholes, but particularly going to use it as a springboard to launch more comprehensive mental health care. Comprehensive healthcare (that includes mental health) is goal, gun violence is the vehicle.

      January 16, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JJ

    So by issuing a bunch of bureaucracy measures, we are going to slow gun violence?
    These people are not buying "Legal Guns" to begin with. They will never go thru any of this "More Intense Background Checks". These guns are black market, or stolen. No violent criminal is going into a gun shop, doing a background check waiting for a certian waiting period, and getting a legal gun. These people are not going to doctors for regular check ups and being deemed "Mentally Unstable".

    January 16, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Miguel White

    Let's see for the list we see a lot of "presidential memorandums" giving "direction" to various agencies and health care officials. We see some "direction" to congress – again this is a non-starter but will give Obama fodder to blame congress next time we have a tragedy, and there will be as long as we have mentally ill folks who cannot be involuntarily locked up for their and our safety.

    My favorite is the huge waste of directive to the CDC – the CDC! to study of all things GUN VIOLENCE? Mr Obama, we know you are not the sharpest president we ever had, but really? An agency that researches disease/pathogens and treatments mostly for chronic situations – you want them wasting their time on feel good policy junk like this???

    January 16, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kathryn A

      The CDC also deals with occupational safety and injury prevention. Gun violence and injury prevention surely have to coincide somehow.

      January 16, 2013 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Truth Hurts

    I hope Obama doesn't send Syrian rebels assault rifles. Someone working for Asads government might get hurt.

    January 16, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick from L.A.

      Bad attempt at humor. The Syrians are suffering and dying enmasse, yet you make fun of them. The nerve.

      January 16, 2013 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Pale Rider

    Its going to be hell for him for all eternity!!!!!!!!!

    January 16, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. BelizePrayerNetwork.com

    This is not just a few executive orders. There are 23. And they are like any federal law. Shouldn't we insist on a definition of executive order to prevent executive overreach?

    January 16, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick from L.A.

      Did you read the orders? which ones are overreaching. These look like policy changes that do not require a act of congress to pass. The big one about banning Assault Rifles aka Children killers, need a congressional oversite.

      January 16, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Carl

    It's amazing how stupid Liberals can be...

    January 16, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • historically accurate

      too easy.... See the conservative blathering about Da Nazi's... tell me why you think THIS guy's a genius?

      January 16, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Hamsta

    He wants the doctors you take your child to for a checkup to interrogate your child about guns in the home. Hitler did exactly the same thing with his Youth Troop. Impeach this Nazi immediately.

    January 16, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • historically accurate

      Gun confiscation was not one of Hitler's tactics– If they confiscated anything, they confiscated EVERYTHING... He burned books, declared degenerate art, and EXPANDED gun ownership rights to GERMANS in Germany. This fantasy rewriting of history is so annoying, I wish more people would read REAL books instead of repeating what "some guy" wrote on his blog about this "fascist socialist weakling tyrant" he hates because he's the president.

      January 16, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick from L.A.

      Where does it say anything about interrogating children?

      January 16, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. B E

    Who paid for the children to attend? We are in a financial crisis; if the government footed the bill, shame on those who made such decisions.

    January 16, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
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