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. jtsuter

    Why did Obama choose to have 23 executive orders? Why not 22 or 24 or 25?

    January 16, 2013 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. keeth

    "well regulated"

    January 16, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. I like guns

    They make me feel like a big man.

    January 16, 2013 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. I like guns

    I hope the terrorists or street gangs come to my house so I can shoot them.

    January 16, 2013 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. I like guns

    I'm getting bored with shooting that stump in my back yard.

    January 16, 2013 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Smeagel4T

    NRA would have managed more legitimacy if they had at least come out in support of background checks. All responsible gun owners that I know support keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and other unbalanced people. By refusing to support even background checks, the NRA is presenting a position of refusing to even keep guns out of the hands of criminals and other unbalanced people. Perhaps the NRA wants to make sure that the gun industry doesn't lose any profits from the sale of guns to criminals and other unbalanced individuals.

    January 16, 2013 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Smeagel4T

    This better not interfer with my right to arm bears.

    January 16, 2013 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • GeeDeeS

      OR my Right to bare arms

      January 17, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. I like guns

    I hope they don't have background checks. They'll take my gun for sure.

    January 16, 2013 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. I like guns

    The NRA is my only friend.

    January 16, 2013 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. I like guns

    Maybe I'll join a neighborhood watch.

    January 16, 2013 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. I like guns

    NRA, please tell the bad Mr. President not to take my gun. I'll buy more guns if you want me to.

    January 16, 2013 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. hamlet

    Everyone should be more concerned about you. You hate gun ownership, which is fine btw, but play like you are an idiot gun owner to make your point. Sybil much?

    January 17, 2013 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  13. Andrew

    Center for Disease Control studies indicate gun control measures do not work to limit gun violence. Best bet is back ground checks to restrict criminals and mentally ill from legally purchasing weapons, but I suppose instead they will buy them illegally, make a bomb, fly a plane into a building, or simply drive their car into a crowd.

    January 17, 2013 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ken Foster

    Makes me ashamed to call myself a Liberal ! The President lied to the American people before he was elected and he also should be ashamed !!

    January 17, 2013 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |

      Really? How so? Please explain cry baby...........

      January 17, 2013 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jim

    I own a shotgun for hunting as well as gun for trap shooting. I think some of the laws are a must and I support that background checks are a must. There a plenty of liars and insane folks that have access to guns without background checks. I also question why hunters and those who want to participate in gun sports need assault weapons. A shotgun can be used for self defense. If you are not using a gun for any of the above then you should be worried and that is exactly what this law is for.

    January 17, 2013 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Mart

      The second amendment is not about recreation. Personally I have no issue with a BG check. But it takes a second to drop one ten round mag and pop another in.. So I can't see what good this would do, and the guy at sandy hook had 3 guns.

      January 17, 2013 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
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