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. Jim

    What happened to my post

    January 17, 2013 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
  2. Aaron

    "If there's even one life that can be saved, then we've got an obligation to try," How about mandatory gun safety training in middle school for all . Training and education is what changed my wife's mind from anti to ok.

    January 17, 2013 at 2:11 am | Report abuse |
  3. BEN

    "Assault" is a behavior. It is something that a person does. Not the thing they do it with. Any gun, and almost anything, can be used in an assault.

    January 17, 2013 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jack Westbrook

    What is the definition of an "assault weapon." Look into the government's definition; it is rediculous. If a criminal, tyrant, or terrorist can get one to use against me, then I have the right to get one to defend myself. That is all.

    January 17, 2013 at 2:57 am | Report abuse |
  5. Peter

    Honestly, what is wrong with you people, your distrust of your own democratically elected leaders,the siege mentality?
    I mean, it's no wonder modern america is viewed with such derision the world over, a wealthy country, a country full of bright promise yet with it's feet firmly stuck in some 19th century ideology on gun ownership, lethal weapons in the hands of anyone who wants one, no one is safer with weapons out there, no one. Only law enforcement and sportsmen should be armed, end of. You 2nd Amendment is full of crap and you should ashamed that it's still in there, and it's the reason I am glad I don't live in your country

    January 17, 2013 at 5:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Ralpy

      I am glad you do not live here either Peter.

      January 17, 2013 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
  6. Super Catholic

    These laws are designed to eventually bar almost everyone from being able to keep and bear arms. Quite simply put Obama is a lowlife and a pig.

    January 17, 2013 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
    • whatyouwant

      Where are you getting that? I see mostly in the 23 executive actions, measures to ensure background checks are properly done and that laws already on the books are being enforced. I'm sure if you read carefully there will be at least one or two that you agree with.

      January 17, 2013 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  7. Rediculous

    I can see some of the regulations being ok such as having an armed secuirity guard in schools but this whole way to curb gun violence is crap. The term "Assault Rifle" is just something that is used to scare the public people who have no clue on how the world works. Just because my gun is black and has a bananna clip does not mean it's going to assault anyone. I like the color black and I like the tactical look, so does this mean since I can't have a black gun I have to go to a bolt action brown colored gun and it will make people feel safer, I doubt that one bit. Then the president uses children in his publicity shot when signing the bill, what a politician. I wish we would finally get someone into office who would actually stand up for the citizens of the United States and it's a wonder why people post of bumper stickers and on social media sites that they "support their country but not their government". Canada is looking like a good place to live right about now before this country turns into another 1930's germany when the germans started by taking rights away piece by piece. In all the president needs to look at our rights and how it should remain our rights but also look at the real violence and where people are dying each and every day which is not by so called "Assault Rifles" but by hand guns and the idiots that use them usually are not registered. Be realistic Mr. Obama it's time to put the political stuff away and be the president you were elected to be.

    January 17, 2013 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |

      The government ALLOWED YOU HAVE THESE WEAPONS RIGHT? Well then, if the public can't seem to control their responsibly purchasd ASSAULT rifles then RE-INSTATE the 1994-2004 ban + additional measures! No ones coming to take ALL YOUR WEAPONS! THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT OUT TO GET YOU YOU PARANOID FREAK!

      January 17, 2013 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Courtney

      Re=read the article. You do not know what you are talking about. You clearly never read what Nazi Germany is like. Banning assault rifles is like Nazi Germany? I'm pretty sure they banned smoking as well- and look around, fool, many states have banned smoking in public areas and the outcry wasn't fascism. This is a preventative step and will not take away your precious hand gun you have under your pillow at night to protect you from non-white America. Also re-read the executive order that places bans on NOTHING- they are steps towards stricter background checks and incentives for schools. You come across fearful of something that doesn't exist. The president is doing what the president should do- understanding what the people NEED (not want) and being the steward of them. He has a responsibility to us and said he was going to do something about it... and has. Integrity at its finest. There is nothing unreasonable about his actions.

      January 17, 2013 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • CS

      The consitution gives me the right not the governmemt

      January 17, 2013 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  8. Super Catholic

    If every able bodied individual, not encarcerated, was required to keep and bear arms and participate in a properly established and regulated community defense force, not only would crime drop precipitously, but the whole issue of violence related to arms bearing would vanish within a few years, once everyone got used to being an arms bearer. Sorry for the long sentence.

    January 17, 2013 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Taco

      Well said! Rights are not given by the government. They are given by God. We have the right to defend ourselves and our communities with the best available...that being said a person handling a weapon must be trained properly on it's use.

      January 17, 2013 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |

      It's incarcerated! NOT encarcerated! , sry ( Grammar police ) 🙂

      January 17, 2013 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • PE

      If every able bodied individual were REQUIRED to keep and bear arms, it would no longer be a right, would it?

      January 17, 2013 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Super Jew

      Defense force? You want to require all Americans to serve in a militaristic fashion? That's called a draft and we don't do that anymore, because it's horrible.

      Thanks but no thanks Benedictus.

      January 17, 2013 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  9. Rain Bucket

    Here's a a fair agreement: You anti-gun peeps give up all your weapons and, if you are a rich anti-gun pol, your armed guards, and I won't interfere at all in your decision to be prey and YOU, in return, leave me alone to exercise my 2nd amendment rights.

    January 17, 2013 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  10. Kevin

    Does anyone actually want to have an intelligent conversation? Or do we just want to defend our "right" to own and/or do pretty much whatever we want? Ridiculous.

    January 17, 2013 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. Rain Bucket

    If you gun owners who say you like these attacks on the 2nd amendment (and I have my doubts whether you are telling the truth about owning guns) think that the gun-grabbers won't come after YOUR guns eventually, then you are just fooling yourself. Most of the gun lobby, various non-profit groups and individual pols, are on record at various times of admitting that their goal is to get rid of ALL guns–that's includes YOURS. If you think that YOU are special and your guns are safe with these anti-2nd amendment types, then you are wrong wrong wrong. When people tell you who they are, believe them. The anti-2nd amendment people admit to being against the 2nd amendment, on many of the liberal websites such as Huffington Post, there are bloggers coming right out and saying the 2nd amendment should be repealed. WHEN PEOPLE TELL YOU WHO THEY ARE, BELIEVE THEM. WHEN PEOPLE AND GROUPS TELL YOU THAT THEY ARE AGAINST THE 2ND AMENDMENT BY THEIR WORDS AND DEEDS THEN IT APPLIES TO YOU, TOO. YOU ARE NOT SPECIAL, THEN WILL COME FOR YOUR RIGHTS TOO.

    January 17, 2013 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  12. anon

    You know I never was an Obama fan but I respected him right up until he exploited those children when he signed the so called orders.

    January 17, 2013 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  13. THOR

    I read only (3) numbered actions, The CNN article says there are (23). Where are the other 20?

    January 17, 2013 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  14. dajowi

    16. "Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes."

    My answer will always be NO. It's not any of there damn business.

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

    Careful, it smells like the Patriot Act #2. Why by pass congress?

    January 17, 2013 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |

      Becasue Congress is broken , and does NOTHING Obama and Americans want. Or were you being fececious?

      January 17, 2013 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
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