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 ‘elitist hypocrite’

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. kosterwi

    Ed, you are SO right!!!! America has got to wake up and stop what this idiot from taking away OUR rights. If you don't like guns, don't own one, but don't infringe on those of us who do. Some of us live in areas where you have to have one in your home for self defense, and don't go telling me to move somewhere else, because reality of life prevents that!

    January 16, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • sarms

      Are you serious right now? Unalienable rights came before any amendment and those BABIES that had those rights taken from them deserved a lot more then they got from their fellow Americans...You should listen to yourself you sound totally ignorant.Embarrassed to have adults think soo much of themselves and so little about the children we bring into this world. AND yes where you live is on you not the rest of us that have to deal with the ignorant statements that spew from your mouth.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • getreal

      Did you live in this house prior to 2004? 8 years ago, they were virtualy none of these MSRs around, and there was an "assault weapon" ban in place. What did you use to protect your home then? I'll bet ya that same gun from then would work now, but just not look as "cool".......

      January 16, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • bEAR

      You most certainly do no need an assault weapons.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • NinjaScott

      Let's use that logic with heroin... If you don't want heroin to be legal just down own it! Dumb

      January 16, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • DudeDad

      Would a background check prevent you from getting a gun to protect yourself? If not, then nobody has taken away your 2nd amendment right. If it would prevent you from getting a gun, you do not get one and we are that much safer. Stop the paranoia...the gov't isn't coming to get you!

      January 16, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      If you want a gun to protect your home and family, you are much better off with a shotgun than an assault rifle. In close quarters, you better be real good with a rifle. Spray and pray is not good when there are precious things about, ie your children.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      Agree......What's good sense firearm wise in rural Georgia or Texas....isn't in NYC, LA, Dallas, Atlanta or Chicago!

      January 16, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ivo

      And who told you ,that you have the right to wear a gun?Wrong-You do not have what soever right to have a gun.And this is saying the whole mankind and the whole world.And forget about all these silly declarations about the american way,because now USA must submit to the will of the human civilization or be degraded to a third class country.And Obama is trying to save this country.

      January 16, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. OnTheRoad

    Please, someone explain to me how my doctor asking me about any guns in my home, is going to make anyone safer?

    January 16, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Khan

      Have you been following news lately?

      January 16, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • OnTheRoad

      @Khan: Yes, I have been reading the news! But, again, tell me how my doctor asking me about guns in my home is going to make 'You' any safer!!!!

      January 16, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rahul

      maybe not in your case cause you may be sane. But it will help you if the doctor asked the same question to next door guy with mental issues and lands up preventing him from using it on you.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • CT

      cause you might have a crazy in your family that he knows about

      January 16, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • OnTheRoad

      @CT: OK, I have gone to the doctor to ask him a question about 'Me' , not to tell him that I have 18 guns in my house alone with my crazy old aunt Ned! So, again, I ask: how is my doctor asking about my guns in my home going to keep 'You' safe?????

      January 16, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • OnTheRoad

      @Rahul: OK, You ask your doctor the nex time you go to see him/her if his/her medical malpractice insursance covers him/her from law suits filed after they call the cops about a patient after that patient said 'Yes' I have a gun/guns in my home! And then the doctor can't prove that the patient is really my 'Crazy Old Aunt Ned'! Only a few (and I do mean a few) doctors are going to get into this choice!!!! And I really question the intelligence of those doctors!!!

      January 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • DMA

      How will the doctor be fair in their decision making if they have a biased opinion? Dr's are so trusting, they prescribe patients with medicine that they don't need just to make a buck. Alot of Dr's are quack's.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rich

    What a shame this President feels he's bigger than our legislative process. 23 executive orders? What a joke.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • jnpa

      They are not laws, so you have no point here!

      January 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • cw

      Yes, with such second amendment infringing words as: "Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime." Wow... That's awful, he's totally abusing his power.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • proud american

      REALLY..... its a joke for you?
      Ask those who lost their loved ones because of gun loving people who have no common sense at all.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wan

      This is a reply to all the Liberals imbecils. First the Sandy Hook false flag was staged by some really poor actors if you haven't noticed. Second, what part of "shall not be infringed" do you NOT understand?


      The U.S. has about 8,5k homicides by firearms per year. Out of the 8,5k:
      – About 400+ are by law enforcement.
      – 250+ are justified killings by law abiding citizens.
      – 75%+ are gang related.
      – 90%+ are committed with illegal guns.
      – About 3.5% are committed with "assault rifles."
      – Most come from where there is the strictest gun control, like Chicago with 500+ killed in 2012.

      See: Reality Check Piers Morgan vs. Alex Jones

      Hope you Liberals enjoy your MURDER FREE Chicago. OH WAIT! Too bad is the guns and not bad people. I wonder how many guns are in jail by now. * you Liberals pieces of *.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Shirley

    You are so mis informed. NO ONE is taking guns away! The paranoia that you are spewing is part of the problem.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |

      Correct you are Shirley! I agree with you 100%!

      January 16, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jumphigh

      Not yet Shirley, but the slippery slope is getting slippier by the day.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |

      100% agreed Shirley!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      January 17, 2013 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Uncommonsense

      It's true. No one is taking guns away. No one is even signing executive orders on gun control.

      January 24, 2013 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  5. jtj33

    Just the beginning.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dean

    Their ultimate goal is to take away ALL guns. This would be just a start. If we give in then they'll just want more.
    Words directly from Diane Feinstein:

    "If I could've gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban picking up everyone of them saying Mr. and Mrs. America turn them all in I would've done it. I could not do that. The votes weren't here."

    January 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • cw

      She said that in 1995.. How does that PROVE that they want to take away ALL guns? Please join us in 2013, Dean.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Charlie Joe

    Let's see, how can banning "assualt" weapons be bad...well, our forefathers had the "assualt" rilfes of their day and they were able to overthrow a king tyrannt and start a new country. Hmmmm...yeah, too bad the ole king of england didn't have a ban on rifles then...we'd all be singing Hail to the King...wait, that's where we're going now.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lauren

      The Revolutionay War was not about preventing the King of England from taking away rifles, it was about being taxed without representation. Before you post anymore ignorant crap , go back to 9th grade civics class

      January 16, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gunsarenotevil

      Exactly right the Anti-Gun idiots never remember this. They think our government actually cares about us. They are doing this to limit the chances of them being overthrown.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • roblearns

      In those days both governments and people owned the same weapons, so the theory was guns could overthrow a tyrant.

      Now governments have nuclear bombs, fighter jets, satellite imagery, drones, tanks, smart missiles, fully automatic machine guns.

      The assault weapon of today, is no match for the weapons of government. The idea of assault weapon as deterrent to tyranny – it just does not, absolutely cannot achieve that goal.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      The "assault weapons" of the 18th century were NOT intended to murder as many innocent people as possible in as short a time as possible. They were single shot blunderbusses. NO private citizen needs to own a rapid fire, high capacity rifle. If they want to hunt, they can easily do it WITHOUT an assault rifle. NO ONE wants to take away second amendment rights. But common sense is always in order. By the way, you need a license to drive a car, and you have to pass a test. Why not do at LEAST that much for gun lovers?

      January 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      With your asinine argument, we should allow citizens to own rocket propelled grenades and tanks and strategic nukes. Do you think all those things should be allowed? Because with the firepower the federal government can wield, in your hypothetical silly situation of Obama wanting to become King and taking over the country by force, your "assault" weapons wouldn't stand a chance. So forgive me if I really don't buy into your "we need weapons to overthrow the government" argument!

      January 16, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • viaquest

      maybe you should go back to 3rd grade reading , because he never said that

      January 16, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Brian

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. This amounts to NOTHING! Obama just found out he aint go no stroke when it comes to taking away law abiding Americans rights. 23 points that mean NOTHING!!

    January 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ngiotta

    Assault weapons are already banned and have been for over 20 years. AR-15's are a standard, semi-automatic rifle in a black plastic shell. Nothing more, nothing less. Assault rifles are select-fire capable, by definition. AR-15's are not select-fire.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yeahright

      Ever heard the term reclassification?

      January 16, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • stacy12

      but they are universal which means u can modify them to full auto.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • kam

      You do know what the AR in AR-15 means?

      January 16, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • johnnyhouse 145

      You are talking to a wall.

      January 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. aztlanshark

    The increased cooperation between state and federal government background checks worries me and will most likely be applied to situations that have nothing to do with guns. Those of use who made mistakes in the past will never be able to escape them and will be branded as social pariahs for life. And we wonder why so many young people can't get a job.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      What are you referring to as "mistakes"? If that means former burglars, domestic abusers, murderers and other violent offenders can't have a gun I'm all for it. Those types of "mistakes" can't be entirely forgotten. Now, if you got a traffic ticket or something then that shouldn't block gun ownership.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. bizi

    I own many guns including 2 ARs. None of these orders are unreasonable to me.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mulehead

      Well done sir or madame – solid comment.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      None of these orders are unreasonable to anyone who actually read them.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      They were supposed to do the background checks all along .
      But enforcement people all think their spies and color their reports when connected.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • brock

      you win a gold star for reading the entire article!

      January 16, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • NotAPawn

      Congratulations on being more sensible than 99.99% of the pro-gun people I see on the internet.

      January 16, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Batman

    If we can save only 1 single life, then we should do it! I said that, I aid that!hehe 🙂

    January 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • al

      should we throw aborted fetus on the whitehouse steps when he talks about abortion and stem cell research

      January 16, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Julio Mickel

    yes! score ZERO for the socialist Obama!

    January 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Reggie

    Universal back round check, yes!. Ban on military style rifle hell NO...

    January 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • John B

      i agree

      January 16, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mike in SA

    As a responsible gun owner, i have zero problem with many of Obama's statements; I do, however, have issue with these two: restore a ban on "military-style assault weapons"; ban gun magazines with capacities of more than 10 rounds. Nope...can not support those two. First, you are "banning" something because it "looks" scary, no other reason; second, I have multiple weapons now that have magazine capacities greater than 10 rounds and have had them for decades. The funny thing is...none of them have ever jumped up and killed someone on their own. It's not the "tool" people, it the people.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al Orlando

      I have a Winchester 1903 .22 short gallery gun. It is now illegal in NY and soon to be nationwide.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike in SA

      I understand, Al, I do. Most of my weapons I have would be illegal in NY now also, including my Marlin 30-30, my 9mm, my .40cal, etc. Hence one of the reaons I live in Texas. I am in firm agreement that there should be background checks, or if presenting of a CHL, to purchase. I have some serious reservations about registering my weapons and about what they are or are not chambered for.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
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