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. Steve

    Gov't taken all our freedom! Socialism! Muslims! Tyranny!

    OH please you uneducated fools. Its sad that our country is sooo behind in education. Instead of books we just buy guns.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Atlahua

    I remember when I was told that I couldn't have hand grenades and a rocket launcher for my birthday. I was crushed and I hated my parents for impeding on my right to bear arms. I was a kid then, acting much the same way a lot of you folks are now. The good news is that I got over it and realized it was for the better. So hang in there kids, I feel your pain.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ding

      where in the above 23 does it say anything about banning guns or high capacity magazines?

      January 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • superbole

      I think we should all be allowed to own smart bombs. We'd be smarter!

      January 16, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tadpole

      Well said.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Taco

      As a law abiding citizen, being told I can't have something is no different than the government telling me I can't be trusted with them. A friend of mine who is a police officer confessed most cops only get range practice time once a year and that I have more experience in firearms than the average police officer. The government has no place telling me what I can and can't do so long as I'm not harming someone else. I've had rifles like these for years and no one has been hurt yet. You are OK with cops having these rifles...well if you're OK with them handling them, then there is nothing wrong with me having them.

      January 17, 2013 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  3. I AM

    You need a background check.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • johnnyhouse 145

      We already have background checks except at gun shows and the smart dealers do them there also.No reason why now, with the internet, and phones service it can not be done.I think that private sales at gun shows will be the one thing that will go.

      January 17, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Neighbor

    There's too much Rednecks in this country. At least, you have a good President.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al Orlando

      Hello. the school his kids go to has 11 ARMED guards. They are not Secret Service. They are there for the other kids.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ranger

      We do?? I don't see that.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sabre546

      Racist much? How would you feel if i said there is too many b lacks in this country? Racism isnt just black and white.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • cw

      Never realized "redneck" was a race. What mystical land do they hail from?

      January 16, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • kosterwi

      Redneck? I've never been called that before, but if it means that I believe in this country and what our founding fathers created it for and to be and believing that government does not have the right to take my freedoms away. This country gave me the ability to go to an Ivy League college and obtain a graduate degree and a very successful career, but if taking all that away means that I'm a redneck. OK, I'm a redneck and proud of it then.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • amythornton2011

      that is the most prejudice and ludicrous comment I've read on here. In order for the President and the government to take total control of the people he must incite violence to make the people feel that they aren't safe (the mass murders that occur) and then deliver the people a feeling of 'protection' when he puts bans on certain guns... you think it's going to stop there? If you think that for one second, he's doing this to help the people, you're dead wrong... this is just the beginning.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tadpole

      Sabre: Redneck is a state of mind, not a race. Think about it.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • JR


      the founding fathers never talked about abortion, healthcare or any of the other weak excuses you are using to protect the secobnd amendment so I guess that means they intended for them to be legal.

      Also, the second amendment mentions a "well regulated militia" so all you gun nuts, need to officially join a militia, report on your weapons, have them checked and accounted for and anything else that a regulated organization would do. If you are calling cars killers, we need to register those and pay registration fees on them each year, so lets solve the fiscal crisis by making gun owners pay say $10 each per gun they own, with the 300 million guns you are all so proud of, there is $3 trillion off the debt we have here. Many problems solved with that, plus $10 isn't much to pay for your freedom and protection right?

      January 16, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. thaNorthStar.com

    what are 10 bullets going to do when people steal rifles w 30rd magazines & start shooting at us?

    January 16, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Errr...

      If a civilian cannot get the job done with 10-rounds or less they are either a coward or a killer.

      Which are you?

      January 16, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • kosterwi

      NorthStar, have you heard about what NYS did yesterday, they banned 10 magazines, you can now only put 7 bullets in them, so when the criminal with a 10 mag comes at you fully loaded, he'll get the last 3 shots in. Guess who'll win.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Al Orlando

    Cars do kill people...CAFE standards.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Hamsta

    Has anyone ever heard of the "Hitler Youth" ? It's dangerous the way Obama is using children as pawns in his game.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • jnpa

      No it's not!

      January 16, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • lol

      you have not the slighest idea of what the Hitler Youth was...you're just a coward who feels empowered with a gun.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mitchell

      Godwin's Law. You lose.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • daddyofjas

      That is by far the most idiotic comment I have seen on here in a long time. Have you ever seen a lot of the NRA ads?Apparently not because it fou did then you would see where the NRA, a heck of a lot more than the President, parades kids around almost non-stop. Those bozos use kids for everything from "this is how we will protect you" to "let's train our children about guns when they are young". And oyu want to talk about the president using kids as pawns?

      January 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • kosterwi

      Hamsta, my in-laws were in 'Hiltler's Youth". When my mother-in-law turned 18, they came and knocked on her door and told her she had to come with them and serve in the German military or die right then, right there. Which do you think she chose. He IS doing the exact same thing as Hitler!

      January 16, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. debbyv

    Since when did the NRA run this country? Noone should have rapid fire military guns unless you are in the military or a police officer. Blame the CIA for gun running of these items and putting them in the hands of criminals. Look what it has done in the middle east and Mexico. Some people in Congress need to look at this agency and cut off their funding.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • jnpa

      The NRA should be banned as a dangerous organization against the U.S.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Judgemofo

      hey debbyv, these rifles they are referring to that are used in these crimes are not rapid firing guns, they are no different than a hunting rifle most of us use to provide food with. If you knew anything about guns you would know that. You are correct to blame the CIA/Government and whoever else is responsible for running weapons to Mexico, so I agree with you there completely, but good responsible people shouldn't have to suffer and give up their rights for it.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bryan Young

      No one is using "rapid fire" weapons. An AR-15 cannot be fired any faster than a semi-auto pistol.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • somebody

      What exactly do CIVILIAN police officers need with automatic weapons? You people all seem to forget that cops are still civilians. I find the overwhelming amount of people wanting cops to arm up like a military force, conduct no-knocks, and generally accept the US vs THEM mentality that law enforcement has. I also find it disturbing to look at police cruisers. It has been quite some time since I have seen "To Protect and To Serve" on one.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sparky1011

      You do realize that talk of restricting weapons and banning organizations does sound a tad bid like a government that may be headed towards less than benevolent governence right?

      January 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick from L.A.

      Police are a paramilitary force. They can fall under the well regulated militia category in the 2nd amendment.

      January 16, 2013 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Judgemofo

    The POTUS said himself, this is to keep guns out of the hands of "bad people", meaning there are no bad guns, just bad people yet he procedes with a ban. Had he or "no one knows" Biden done a little research, an assault weapon is a gun that contains a selector switch allowing it's operator to select between single fire and rapid fire, an AR 15 does not have this option, it is single fire only, just because it looks scary doesn't mean it's a bad gun...idiots... I dont condone the stupidity of people that commit these horrible crimes, but making the law-abiding gun owners that would already do anything to protect children suffer is rediculous. Our freedom is suffering people, over half of the executive orders were not even announced, makes you wonder how the responsible gun-owning people of this country are about to get screwed even more.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Shirley

    You are so mis informed. NO ONE is taking guns away! The paranoia that you are spewing is te part of the problem.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • DLinLA

      At this point, I MUST assume that anyone who is still screaming "they are going to take my guns away" (there has been absolutely NO call to ban all weapons) is a mentally unbalanced person who is afraid of a psych evaluation that may be imposed.

      It is the only logical, rational conclusion.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • ammoaj

      I live in Utah and I had to tell an old man who was spewing profanity in front of kids to pipe down over the gun control issue. I gave him my email address and told him send me the proof that the President is going to take away your guns. I might have to move, this place I live in is insane and I am a gun owner. for crying out loud.

      January 16, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Prof. Rockhill

      You are sadly misinformed, delusional even. Go back to sleep little sheep.

      January 16, 2013 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      Sharley, A large portion of the population wants to take away peoples guns, mainly because they're wanting to do the right thing (without bothering to learn what it is), and conservatives actually realise that its the people who matter, regardless of how stupid they are, and so yes, it is paranoia, your people have no power, only the government, and that I suppose is what people are really crying about.

      January 17, 2013 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  11. Joe

    Just like Obama to not waste a crisis. How shameful to bring parents of Sandy Hook to this announcement. Obama the constant campaigner. Doesn't have a bone in his body which would know how to lead a country. I guess he can flip-flop too just like every other president – check his vote on the debt ceiling. All the republicans should vote Present – taking from Obama's playbook – when the debt ceiling vote comes up. Then Obama will finally have a record on something. And when the US turns into Greece in 2 years, all of the people who voted for him and will see their Medicaid, Social Security and Medicare checks decrease or cease, will reap what they sow. People will only wish they had guns to protect their property.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joel

      Dumb like you probably voted for mitt, the President was not thinking about himself, but for the nation. Wake up and grow up.. He's our President, and will continue to be for the next 4yrs, either idiots like you like it or not... Boooooo!!!!

      January 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • sarc

      Yes, the sky is falling. You better run and hide from that mean old non-white person.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • one against a million

      yes shame on the predisent for caring about the nation and those that have lost love ones....shame

      January 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Scott in Texas

    Smart move by a strong leader. Thank you Mr. President.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • kckaaos

      Yes, signing the NRA's plan into law was awesome.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • ralph rodgers

      way to go Mr President using those kids like a prop so you can bypass congress to sign laws you have no authority to do.. More people die by hammers and blunt objects are you gonna ban hammers.. You people will see the next step is free speech..

      January 16, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      I doubt it...

      January 16, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • rickd

      wrong on both accounts not sm art and not a strong leader

      January 16, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      A strong leader? Are you insane? This goof is the worst President this country has ever had, aside from maybe Millard Fillmore. My God Americans are so stupid to elect and re-elect this moron. Leader? He has absolutely no clue what he is doing, never has.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Albert

      Thank you, Mr. President. With great respect from Europe.

      January 16, 2013 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Super Catholic

      You might want to seek asylum in New York. You'll be safe here as long as you don't run into me.

      January 17, 2013 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Billu

      He's (Obama) an idiot !

      January 17, 2013 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • DisgustedAmerican

      Berry Hussien is a much hated president!!! I have never heard so much unrest, hate, and disgust about him and his presidency. Wow, you go America!!!

      January 19, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Godwins Law

    My favorite part of this whole thing is all of the people up in arms and comparing this to Hitler.

    Hey, You know how Hitler got to power? By fostering hatred against communism.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Punkmonk

      Yes he instilled the hatred of communism by instilling pride in the Nazi Socialist Party.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • N

      Ever actually READ Rise and Fall of the Third Reich? Hitler came to power because all the little political factions hated him but couldn't get over their own little petty differences to vote him out...allowing him to grow the vote. Once he was in, he declared martial law and used things like Executive Orders to get his way. Sorry. They called it an Enabling Act. To quote Wikipedia: "It received its name from its legal status as an enabling act granting the Cabinet the authority to enact laws without the participation of the Reichstag. " Gee.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • somebody

      And now hate is being fostered against law abiding citizens for wishing to maintain their property

      January 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Fataboom

      Obama is fostering hatred against wealthy people....

      January 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. agnar150

    Obiden and Obama go home

    January 16, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. proud american

    He is so right, it is time for the people of america to come forward and speak .
    This is commomsense, it has nothing to do with our rights. The right is to bear arm and not to have military style weapons.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      That's what doesn't make sense. They were banned before.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Punkmonk

      "It has nothing to do with our rights" was stated when they passed the patriot act and the NDAA of 2011. They already have the "legal right" to imprison anyone without jury and in secrecy all they need to do now is take away the arms from the populace.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
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