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 ‚Äėelitist hypocrite‚Äô

Opinion: No, hypocrisy is at the NRA

Oregon sheriff: 'Unconstitutional' gun control laws won't be enforced

GOP senator vows to fight ‚Äėking‚Äô Obama

soundoff (1,548 Responses)
  1. FruVegge

    The one I am very uncomfortable with is 13. "Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime." That to me says they will go door to door and get the guns.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. FruVegge

    This is insane my comments are waiting approval and not on word in close to be a bad word or against anyone here. I think its bye bye CNN

    January 19, 2013 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  3. FruVegge

    Why is CNN not allowing me to say I am against any party of the list, they're not allowing me to type it in so it must be illeal now to say your against anything?

    January 19, 2013 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  4. FruVegge

    I'll try re wording it to Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime." what exactly is Maximize enforcement if it is not going door to door to collect the weapons?

    January 19, 2013 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  5. FruVegge

    I do not like #13 to Maximize enforcement efforts, what is that if it is not going door to door?

    January 19, 2013 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  6. FruVegge

    Bye Bye CNN I cannot type anything in that says I do not like any part of the law.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  7. helpstayfree


    freedom dies alittle more when people like you open you mouth with lies

    January 20, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. larry mcdonalr sr.

    let's face it ,the day our freedom of choice was taken away by a paid off surpreme court judge,america as it was .is gone,only god can save it now.,its been said america will be taken from within without a shot being fired.well we are on our knees to china and obamacare.but you know what god is still in contril.if it be here or heaven.us christians will win.even so come back lord.

    January 20, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Naylor

    I I don't think the founding fathers would have expected this level of mass shooting capability. If they had, they may have added their own limitations. What other arms should you be allowed to have? Should dirty bombs be legal since the bad people can get them, shouldn't good people be able to have them so that bad people will have more access to them? After all dirty bombs don't kill – people do. Yes, I am being extreme to drive home a point.

    January 20, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. mzaz2012

    This is no different then when Hitler did the same thing using kids for his agenda to disarm citizens.

    This year will go down in history. For the first time civilized nations has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient and the world will follow our lead into the future. ‚ÄďAdolf Hitler, 1935

    January 21, 2013 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Hitler in 1944 created the VOLKSTURM, the people's militia. Ever old man, woman and child was armed with a gun.

      January 22, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      so true and its seems to be going that way for sure all i can stay is stock pile up and pray

      January 31, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      First of all that supposed qoute has been proven to have not been said by Hitler. Secondly, when Hitler became the Furher in 1933, Germany was under the Law of Firearms and Ammunition Law of 1928 which was restricting as to who could posses firearms, i.e-government officials, police and citizens who were deemed trustworthy. In 1938 the Weapons Law of 1938 became law which relaxed or nullified the previous weapons laws in Germany. This only forbade Jewish citizens to manufacture/sell weapons and ammunition. They were still allowed to posses firearms. The Regulations against Jews Possesion of Weapons of November of 1938 forbade Jews from possessing firearms and other weapons ONLY in Austria ans Sudetenland.

      February 4, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • what

      This is different than the example you made, yes. Way different. Especially in that the 23 executive orders don't take away anyone's guns or rights to them. Which you'd know if you'd read them. They're ON THIS PAGE. But nope, much easier to skip to the comments and get down to some hitler-callin' of Obama. Please don't breed.

      February 10, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Kevin

    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."

    And our Attorney General Holder is an expert on these two executive actions.

    January 21, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dave

    Linda, I need it to protect lazy people, like yourself, who do not cherish and respect their freedoms and liberties, to protect them from an evergrowing government. You are welcome.

    January 22, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Anthony

    whats the diffrence between a psyco with a gun and a psyco with a knife? He can kill from a distance that is all both are deadly. So lets ban assault knifes next.

    January 31, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Michael G. Kamau

    As a self-empowerment writer, the gun-control debate is very puzzling to me. It seems to me that one law would solve the many problems that exist: A gun tracking law.
    Stated simply, just permit law enforcement, at all levels, the ability to match any weapon used in a crime to the last registered owner. That means that if a manufacturer, dealer or private citizen sells a weapon to someone who chooses to commit a crime, they too (former owner) would be charged in the crime as an accessory and be liable in facing full legal prosecution (which would include prison time and fines). Responsible weapons owners would have no fear of such a law. Such a law would quickly weed out those who are dealing secretly with the criminal and terrorist elements of society. Then, any talk of a weapons ban or mandatory background checks becomes a moot point. The tracking law would become the policing influence.

    February 5, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mike Little

    Not one of these orders mentioned taking away guns from rightful owners or any restrictions on 2nd amendment rights. The President is doing a good job. As far as America going down the path to Fascism or Socialism, you all need to pop your head our of you rear and come up for air. The country is a lot more at risk of ultra religious & ultra right wingers taking over and imposing religious law on America. That is the day we need assault rifles. We need less laws telling people how to live than more. With the advent of the internet and national databases we are really not far from 1984 and 911 laws that allow infringement of personal privacy go far down that path. We are our own worst enemy. But the President is not the enemy.

    February 10, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45