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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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. nealb4gage

    Gun restrictions on law-abiding citizens will only make the public more vulnerable. It is also a step toward a total gun ban. Can we really not see this coming?


    January 16, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick from L.A.

      Assault Rifles should not be in civilian hands and the President is not asking for all guns to be removed. Fear mongering is the weapon of the GOP... oh wait sorry your canidate lost.

      January 16, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Duh


    January 16, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Hamsta

    Obama is indoctrinating your kid to rat you out about the gun you keep in your house. Hitler did the same thing with THE HITLER YOUTH. IMPEACH THIS NAZI NOW!!!!!!!!!

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

      Mommy keeps a SIg Sauer in her purse can I have a lolipop doctor.

      Paranoid much?

      January 16, 2013 at 8:11 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 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. 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 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick from L.A.

      Agreed. The main problem is the gun but the individual using it. If this creates better care for people with mental health issues then bravo.

      January 16, 2013 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dprang

    Good Job Obama!

    January 16, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. What the?

    If Obama is so worried about guns why does he surround himself with armed secret service agents?

    January 16, 2013 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • aces

      Man your stupd. He's surrounded by Agents because he's the president, a nice juicy target for badguys, same go's for his kids, what a stupid statement by the NRA. His children are much larger targets then anyones kids. I suppose the NRA likes the idea of an unguarded pres and his family (Why I have no Idea, sounds like petty bickering tho).

      January 16, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • mac

      no guns and no butter either

      January 16, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      Because he's the President....FOOL!!!

      January 16, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      Those aren't SS agents, those are kids.

      January 16, 2013 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mondude

      I hope the GOP and the NRA keep up with this kind of tactic then the American people can see them for the kind of associations they are. They will in next twenty years or so just fade away. I say maintain this approach.

      January 16, 2013 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |

      There is 110 year old law on the books that covers the presidents protection as well as his family. You're argument is invalid.

      January 16, 2013 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • i12bphil

      So in other words, the people around him with guns keep him and his family safe. Hmm.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dustin

      Here is the problem with all of this subject. Number one its parents not taking care of there children and teaching them about proper gun usage. If there was more education on gun safety a majority of these issues would not come up. Secondly if you look at a majority of the gun related fatalities in the U.S. most are from unregistered illegal firearms. For you to put even more restrictions on the good honest Americans who do the legal route is not right you are making it harder for us to protect ourselves from the above mentioned. Lastly on this subject as far as its concerned this is an issue for adults not children. For our president to have kids present at something like that for shame on him. As a parent i would never have allowed my kid to stand there. There is a time and place to bring children in and this was not the time or place.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      Wow that picture says it all......if this isnt showboating or milking something for political gain then I dont know what is.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sinfc

      It's you're stupid, stupid.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. the prophet

    The Government has gone too far by taking away rights from people, the solution declare war to take back America,

    January 16, 2013 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • pompompurkin

      I agree.

      January 16, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • keeth

      "taking away rights from people"

      Enumerate the rights taken away by Obama in specific detail. Please.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. AC

    Has he been impeached yet?

    January 16, 2013 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Reen

    Amazing he wants more background checks on guns owners but not himself. He also likes to use children to advance his political gain, just like numerous tyrants before in history. Remember the Hitler youth movement?

    January 16, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Anarchist

    If he banned 30+ round mags then why doesn't He get assassinated with a 10 round.

    January 16, 2013 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. EnuffAlready

    Following in the footsteps of Mussolini, Stalin and Hitler. All of whom used children as a prop in the ascent to tyranny. Also reminds me how Muslim extremest use women and children to block potential harm. How long before we are forced to call him King?

    January 16, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. L.Byers

    lets say im a criminal...i break into your home,buisness,car,whatever and steal your weapons... no backround check required.laws are only to keep honest people honest.Criminals dont care about laws.

    January 16, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. FactsDontActuallyMatter

    There seems to be a large contingent of people calling Obama a facist or a Nazi and comparing proposed legislation to ban assault weapons as similar to 1930's Germany. Those people couldn't be any more ignorant. The truth is that Nazi Germany actually returned gun ownership to "deserving" citizens after the Weimar Republic had banned guns in 1919. So that's a croc of BS. Then there is the fact that Obama is mostly called a liberal yet Facism is defined as being on the far-right of the political spectrum. Again, ignorance. In all reality, the background check program that BOTH Obama and the NRA support is more like a Nazi program than anything. Anyone that is considered a mental defective would be banned from owning a gun. Who defines mental defective? Do you people have no concern about a giant database that includes your medical records in government control? Throw in the NRA proposal of adding a 100k police officers in schools (will they be in Blackshirts or Brown) and we get that much closer to the police state of Nazi Germany. Both sides of this issue are using gun control as a way to further their Military-Industrial complex dreams of controlling America....don't buy into it.

    January 16, 2013 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • No Drama Queens please!

      Who qualifies you as mentally ill? Your psychiatrist or psychologist determine if your are. DUUUH!!! If you don't have record with them of course it will not show in your background check. But I think you are a bit paranoiac. You should go see one....

      January 16, 2013 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hamsta

      Maybe you need to stop regurgitating that liberal propoganda and pick up a history book, the word Nazi translates as: National Socialist Workers' Party. Who are the fascists? Nazis. Who are the socialists? Obama, left wing liberals, Stalin and Hitler.

      January 17, 2013 at 6:51 am | Report abuse |
  14. hamlet

    I'm a NRA member and I see no problem with any of the 23 items. I don't agree with the approach as it seemed rushed and kind of an in your face approach. Now banning anything won't help IMO. Focusing on the mental health of this country is important. Too many people have too much hate for others with a different opinion

    January 16, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • No Drama Queens please!

      I agree with you. You seem to be more reasonable than most of the people who seem to take everything to a very erroneous and very bad level.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • yeahright

      Finally, a voice of reason.

      January 17, 2013 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  15. jack

    People who think Obama is not doing right think they are safe.

    January 16, 2013 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
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