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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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. Al Orlando

    the moral of the story is ......you now have just ten shots....so, practice, practice, practice. Surely you can deduct the extra ammo cost from your income tax.

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

      Nope no need. Instead of carrying 1 pistol with 10 rounds people will just carry more than 1 pistol. It doesn't do anything.

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


      Exactly – and that argument cuts both ways. These changs don't amount to much.

      They are neither stepping on anyone's rights, nor changing the metrics of gun violence in america. Now, the president did order more research into the situation – so, yeah, we can hope for more, but the immediate effect is to calm everyone down, and thats about it. Most mass murders are done with sem-automatic handguns, not assault rifles.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • al

      how longs it take anyone even a friggin idiot to drop a mag and replace it ,are you going to charge a gun man thinking he's replacing a mag

      January 16, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kris

    I'm confused, what are the 23 executive orders!? I sure didn't hear 23 changes listed! Hate to say it, but something isn't right..

    January 16, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Why Why Why

    total yawn if you live in California.....this is more a chance for the midwest and south to be apoplectic..

    January 16, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. skyleral


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

      Yes, because delusional people never think that they are murdering in the name of God.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      Yelling doesn't help your cause, no matter what side your on.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. thaNorthStar.com

    why do people ask why anyone needs an 'assault' rifle after a criminal stole 1 & killed over 20 people with it? i could tell from the beginnin that this wasnt going to be very logical debate. joe biden was meeting with victims of shootings to determine what should be done to stop gun violence

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

      impeach obama

      January 16, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Name*dave

    What kind of weapon was used

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

    Are they going to ban assault weapons from the police force as well? If not, then how do we protect ourselves against the increasingly abusive American cops? They are already awful. If their guns are better than our guns, then they will get even worse.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff

    All i see here is more government spending getting signed into action. Great timing BARRY.....

    January 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trevor

      Try to at least hide your racism

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

      how is he being racist?

      January 16, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John

    1/16/2013 – The start of the 2nd American CIVAL WAR!.......YIKES!!!

    January 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. tbechtx

    I applaud President Obama's request for Congress to outlaw military type automatic weapons. It's a ballsy move and one that no one has had the guts to make until now. A private citizen has no business owning an automatic assault weapon. The time has come for society as a whole to take a stance and outlaw these military style weapons.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • bob

      learn what an assault weapon is, then maybe you might have a chance to say your 2 cents. idiot!

      January 16, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al Orlando

      Military automatic weapons are already banned. And, have been since 1936. Idiot.

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

      tbechtx, please educate yourself before you make yourself look bad again. No automatic weapon has been used in any shooting for many decades. Automatic weapon imports are already banned, and ownership of current ones requires a very in depth background check. "Assault weapons" like the AR-15 are simply medium power rifles styled to look like military weapons. The shoot one bullet per trigger pull..that's it.

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

      THe public hasn't been able to buy a military assault weapon since 1938. And no, the AR15 is NOT a military assault weapon. The military's weapons are all fully automatic.

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

      Wow, seem to hit a very sensitive nerve here. These replies say a lot so, I will just let them speak for themselves….

      January 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve c

      What the replies "say" is that you have no idea what you are talking about and should refrain from embarrassing yourself in the future.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • tbechtx

      I think your paranoid knee jerk responses are what is brutally embarrassing.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve c

      Yep, I guess clarifying your misunderstanding of assault weapons is somehow "paranoid". Knee-jerk would be your quick association of "assault rifles" with automatic weapons.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • al

      your an idiot and you probably dont own a gun so shut up !!!!

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

      impeach this dictator now

      January 16, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Paul

    Linda... for protection from tyrannical government

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

      SAy hello to the delusional and paranoia!freak show!

      January 16, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. walter

    Gee, no mention of the cost of this – what a surprise CNN. Of course Obama Claus doesn't care about the cost of anything, he'll just add it to the 1,398,308 things he'll "pay" for by taxing those nasty rich folks.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      Tax the owners of AR-15s and other weapons of war (not hunting, terget or self protection weapons) for the pleasure of owning them!

      January 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MilitaryMike

    Gwen – you are incorrect. The Second Amendment says "the peoples right to bear arms shall not be infringed"' Infringe means to limit or encroach upon. Encroach means to enter gradually. By the very definition of the Second Amendment it would be a violation to ban "assault weapons" and "high capacity magazines"'

    January 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      By your logic, Suitcase nuclear bombs are allowed under the second amendment.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan Johnson

      This is directly from Justice Scalia's writing in the Heller Decision of the Supreme Court.

      You sir, are incorrect on the 2nd Amendment according to that same Supreme Court that the gun guys keep saying says they can have any gun.

      "Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited.
      It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any
      manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed
      weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment
      or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast
      doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by
      felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms
      in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or
      laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of
      arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those
      “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition
      of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons. "

      January 16, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vereran999

      WOW! I see you cherry picked a portion of the 2nd amendment. Why didn't you include the part that comes before that. You know, the part that talks about a well REGULATED militia. As a side note, we also have freedom of speech, but we do not have the right to yell fire in a theater, for example

      January 16, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mo

      "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

      It also says "A well regulated Militia". Which when you refer to Websters Dictionary, a Militia is this:


      a : a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency

      b : a body of citizens organized for military service


      : the whole body of able-bodied male citizens declared by law as being subject to call to military service

      Basically is states that a militia is an emergency military purpose situation. It was not our Founding Fathers purpose to arm us with assault rifles and high capacity magazines. If the only reason your armed yourself today was for the same reason they armed themselves then (the militia served to secure America's freedom from the British), you would be in jail for life. That's called a "Gang" these days and they go to prison for taking the law into their own hands. The "bad guys with guns" you are all talking about, that would be YOU if you followed the 2nd amendment and were armed as it is stated, as a well organized militia.

      January 16, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • jp

      Limiting magazine sizes does not infringe upon your ability to own, possess or use a firearm....and by your fellow gun right's supporters own admissions limiting magazine sizes is a moot point because any experienced gunman can change mags within a matter of seconds

      Please give me your reasoning why and how a limited magazine stands in the way of you buying or owning a firearm

      January 16, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kerry

      Does the unlimited right to bear arms include unfettered access to explosives, military grade chemicals, and radioactive materials?

      January 16, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clayton

      Using that logic, your second amendment rights are already being infringed. Do you think that fully automatic weapons should be readily available?

      January 16, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • BigAL76

      Too late for that. If that was the case then let's give weapons back to psychos and felons and let god sort them out after......

      January 20, 2013 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  14. Bizzy B


    January 16, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bob

    i still dont see him giving up his armed bodyguards. i wonder how many rounds their magazines hold?

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