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. CML

    Sounds more reasonable then the assine legislation passed by New York State's finest Governor Andrew Cuomo. Only allowed a 7 round clip? What's that supposed to do? Criminals will just buy more clips or use old ones and thats assuming they're using a 9mm! And what about the Buffalo News requesting Erie County disclose names, addresses, phone numbers of gun owners in the Newspapers for all to see? Or the unconsitutional pistol license requirements the GREAT STATE OF NEW YORK requires? (4 years of residency within one county & 4 references before you can even take the class). Give me a freakin break! This is all BS smoke and mirrors.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al Orlando

      You can be assured that all criminals will be dropping off there 14 round Baretta's at the local police station.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. GBA

    Piece by piece the America we know is being dismantled...Plans are going just the way he wants it....Unfortunately we will learn the hard way...

    January 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • skyatimus

      Things are going the way the vast majority of Americans want them to go. It's a small minority that's making all the noise.

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

      Actually the majority wants this.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joe

    Not a single thing to prohibit or impede gun ownership by law abiding citizens. Aside from refusing to answer the doctor in item 16, no problem.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank Brady

      Actually there is a big problem. Is innocuous sounding proposal requiring background checks for all private sales requires a background national registration scheme, without which this provision cannot be implemented. He is, as usual, lying.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. otternobetter

    ok - but those who still plan on not following the law will not be affected, until potenitally after the fact. why should those who follow the laws have to be 'reasonable' and 'responsible' when subjected to more scrutiny and loss of freedom – while a criminal will just disregard it.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Meki60

    Obama always has been and still is a charlatan.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ed

    Well 2nd amendment is the right to shoot at the government if it is taken over by tyrants....a 10 bullet clip limit makes it hard to win this country back thus the ban...we will be out gunned, and they know it

    January 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      Possibly, but we have a volunteer army and it is hard to imagine those serving actively taking up arms against their friends and neighbors. There will be exceptions, but I don't think the pending civil war will be as one-sided as you might suspect.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. chatmandu002

    We are reaping the rewards after 40+ years of the ACLU fighting for the rights of the mentally ill to be free and unchecked.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mar

    So what does this do to stop all the illegal guns on the streets that are responsible for most of the crimes with a firearm ? They can make as many laws as they want but it wont stop people from killing each other. Stricter guns laws are not the problem why is this so hard for so many people to understand ? These things will keep happening even if guns were outlawed.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bob

    Oh you people and your guns.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Meki60

      Oh YOU people and your stupidity

      January 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ryan

    Cliff notes from Obama's speech:

    1. Fewer guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens

    2. Bulk up the police force

    Sounds like the makings of a police state to me.

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

      yes it does...remember..Hitler had a similar agenda...replace Jew with the 1% and it's basically the same thing. Obama and Hitler are Autocrats cut from the same piece of Fascist fabric

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

      1. You can still buy plenty of shotguns for your protection.
      2. Good idea!

      You clearly have zero clue what a police state even is. Try living in one and you'll be glad you're living here instead.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      TNP...it all starts somewhere....and that's why we have the 2nd amendment to ensure that it doesn't happen

      January 16, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      Exactly. History repeats itself once again.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • TNP

      ED-The 2nd Amendment was put in place as a buffer for the people to protect themselves against a potential tyrannical government. Thus having access to the same weapons as the government.

      This is clearly not the case today unless you think the 2nd Amendment is going to protect you against airstrikes, armored assaults and troops carrying fully automatic assault rifles and military grade body armor?

      Stop bringing up the 2nd Amendment, it's about time it was changed too.

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

      TNP wants to repeal the Second Amendment. I doubt that is an uncommon sentiment among the left, however let us consider the dangerousness of a precedent for repealing parts of the Bill of Rights. The horrified liberal would discover that a repeal of the 4th Amendment would invalidate the Roe v. Wade decision and enable the states to outlaw abortion. And a repeal of the 3rd Amendment could partially solve our budget crisis. The defense budget could be cut drastically if private citizens could be forced to quarter troops in their homes. Finally, repealing the 1st would ensure that nobody could utter a single word of complaint when the infantry squad living in their garage ate up all their food.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Gunsarenotevil

    Why are you watching Fox news then?

    January 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Your head's still in the sand

    All of this pertains to Fast and Furious I presume.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chooch0253

      Fast and Furious is a continuation of a program started under Bush and his Attorney General, Gonzalez, known as "Gunrunner". It started in 2005. What is your point? Do you have one?

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

      For that answer ask GW Bush. F&F was initiated under his administration.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. GEGGG

    First NDAA now this? Liberty how we knew ye.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sparky1011

      agreed! But, ahhh don't we feel safe! (sarcasm)

      January 16, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • rabidatheist

      Now what, and by the way NDAA was overwhelmingly voted in by Republicans, and last year an amendment was put forward to remove the indefinite detention provision of NDAA. guess who blocked it? That's right......REPUBLICANS.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • felixgiordano

      The only people who would be "harmed" (so to speak) by the president's 23 executive orders are the criminally insane. Are you hinting that you are included in that demographic?

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

    You know what's really screwed up here, Lanza was not a criminal until he killed all those kids. So tell me how any of these orders help? We need to make it easier to admit crazy people. 30 years ago this kid would have been put in a white jacket and strapped to a chair and fed meds till he drooled.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      You obivously missed the last to EO's both of which had something to do with mental health.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      Because his psychiatrist could have told someone about the guns in his home, and the moment that psychiatrist began to think (if he/she ever did) that Lanza was heading for a break, could have told someone about it.

      All this does is relax HIPAA restrictions (which most Conservatives disagree with anyway when it comes to mental health), make background checks mandatory for everyone, and then make those checks more comprehensive.

      It doesn't touch your precious guns. Calm down.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chooch0253

      Reading comprehension is not your strong suit is it?

      January 16, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Read it and you will know

      You should read the list and think for yourself. I found that at least two of those orders, most obviously the ones which allow Docs and states to provide medical information to federal agencies so those can be considered during a background check, address this issue precisely. Also, allowing docs to discuss gun ownership with a patient is very important as well.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al Orlando

      Lanza was a criminal. He stole 3 guns. That is three felonies. He killed his mother. That is a felony. He took them to his car. that is tree more felonies. He transported 3 loaded guns in his car. That is three more felonies. He took them to a gun free school zone that is three more felonies. to break in he discharge a gun in at a school .
      That is another felony................do I need to go on?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jez

    Obama is a president with guts. I admire this man. He's willing to do what other punk presidents feared to do – stand up to the bloody NRA.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • GunGun

      Bloody NRA? Seriously? Is that really your boogeyman? You dont think criminals need to be accountable for their crimes?

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

      They are the criminals..

      January 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • JP

      The shooter who gunned down those elementary school children was not a criminal the day before he killed those kids. After he shot the children, all of a sudden, he is a criminal, and NRA members everywhere disavow him. So, I say to you that in a society where citzens are forced to carry guns are protecting themselves from one another. In a gun society, the more guns there are, the more guns people need to protect themselves. These people who say we need more guns for protection want to make the country into a version of the Wild West from the 1800s where it is every man for himself. Is this what we truly want? The Wild West?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • D from Mi

      Go live somewhere else, This is America!

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

      This president with guts has done nothing except please people like you that read this and think he did something. HE IS CHANGING LOCKS ON SAFES!!!!???? How is that going to help?

      January 16, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • the fighting second

      your position is ridiculous and you will soon be a detriment to this country. Enjoy that time,

      January 16, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • TrueTexan

      By using the term "Bloody NRA" I can presume you are British. To you Sir I will say we will not be "subjects" of another human being. Therefore, you may not understand the notion American liberty as we in Texas know it. Freedom is won and it must be defended "against all enemies, foreign or domestic". Guns in the hands of law abiding citizens keeps the government in check. The government is there for us not the other way around.
      ALL of Obama's measures would not have stopped Newtown. Those guns were purchased legally. Background checks were made. So the measures signed today are purely theater and a first test of his ability to continue to decree as if being president in the US is like being a king in England.
      For the record I think everyone should have background checks. ALL GUNS SHOULD NEVER BE IN THE HANDS OF THE MENTALLY DEFICIENT. But the arrogance by which we are force fed imperial style governance is an insult.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • asm

      "Guns in the hands of law abiding citizens keeps the government in check."

      Are you serious? Do you really think that any of the weapons that law abiding citizens can obtain could really keep the government in check? The police forces, national guards, and armed forces could so easily overwhelm anything that citizens have. It is not at all analogous with the time of the Revolution when we had essentially the same kinds of weapons that the British had.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
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