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. Victor

    "The president is doing what the president should do- understanding what the people NEED (not want) and being the steward of them."

    Courtney, that is a very disturbing statement. Why don't you just make him King Obama and be done with it?

    January 17, 2013 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  2. Brisinger

    First i am a democract and i voted for obama but when it comes to gun rights i fully support republicans and the reason i wish to own a gun is safety if a burgaler breaks into your house with a bat he could kill your family and without a gun the average person doesnt know hand to hand combat. Also i intend to get training on how to handle the firearm, next the bottom line comes down to this why cant i own a gun when i dont want to kill someone with it but to protect myself. Last no gun ever walked to a store loaded itself and shot someone without a human pulling the tigger, start blaming the real problem mentally ill people because they can use other things as a weapon for example a baseball bat then what are we gonna ban those to

    January 17, 2013 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. donna in texas

    Another move on a crisis to take something we hold precious – our rights and avoid the number one issue mental health treatment.

    I wonder if any of those children or families of those children have a mental health issue or is this another exploitation on innocence.

    January 17, 2013 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  4. hisv

    It was really time way before the Trayvan tragedy and of course the last one. As parents and concerned Citizens, each of us must support the national GUN opinion indeed to shun our last cry. May God bless America!

    January 17, 2013 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  5. Hamsta

    What a cute picture of Hitler and his youth troop.......

    January 17, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Hamsta

    In the mind of Obama : I and only I know what's good for you so I will take all of your money and give it to "green" energy and welfare recipients while I take your guns away so you can rely on police to protect you. I am the chosen one, Emporer Obama.

    January 17, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • larry

      let him keep thinking hes god he will never be mine never be a grizzle adam's first

      January 18, 2013 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • jeremy

      HAMSTA......He's not taking our guns or stripping away our rights

      January 19, 2013 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
    • HunterG

      If you don't mind.Please, tell me where in those 23 statements that it said any thing about taking your guns away??

      January 19, 2013 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
  7. johnnyhouse 145

    I guess there is no limit to Democrat executive orders.I think substance governs how many you are allowed.

    January 17, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. steve

    then tell me why they dont curb violence in movies, tv, or video games...oh thats right all the left wing nuts support Obama and donated money to his campaign so he leave this out while us law abiding gun owners have to be punished. Hey lets take away the 1st amendment and watch all the Movie industry go ape nuts

    January 17, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. johnnyhouse 145

    Mentally ill people have more rights than any other group of people.Check it out.

    January 17, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. lagunacomputer

    If you think the 2nd Amendment is about 'hunting' or 'target practice' then you didn't study American History.

    January 17, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. kati

    Your paranoia is full blown; see someone in the medical profession for that. No one is trying to take your guns away. WE only wanycommon sense applications of background checks which include mental health records, bans on high capacity ammunition magazines, and semi-automatic "miltary stlye" type weapons, and of course a reorganisation of the mental health system to make sure that people who need help can get it.

    January 17, 2013 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Janet

    So sad that propaganda about the second amendment is being blown out of perspective. Assault weapons in our homes? Really? If one of your own children or grandchildren had been murdered in less than five minutes with an automatic weapon, you would feel more empathy....my individual wants are not as important as the lives of the children.

    January 18, 2013 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. Ivan Mark Radhakrishnan

    ACTION that makes sense at last!

    January 18, 2013 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  14. bobcat (in a hat)©


    January 18, 2013 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  15. Dorothy Penn

    Maybe something could be done about the distribution of ammunition. No ammo, no impact.

    January 18, 2013 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
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