Thursday, January 17, 2013
President Obama unveiled sweeping new gun-control initiatives on Wednesday aimed at reducing gun violence in America.
The president announced 23 executive actions not requiring congressional approval, such as improved tracking of recovered guns, improvements to the broken federal background check system, enhanced school safety and, greater national attention to mental health.
Speaking at the Eisenhower Auditorium in the White House, Mr. Obama said:
“They’re common-sense measures. They have the support of the majority of the American people.”
The president also nominated the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, B. Todd Jones, to become director of the agency which has inexplicably gone six years without permanent leadership. Gun rights activists have sought to limit the reach of the ATF, which regulates the firearms industry.
Obama’s initiatives comes one month after the massacre of 26 school children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, CT, a tragedy that shocked and sickened the nation in a way that other mass shootings have not. Included in the audience were victims’ families. On stage with the president were four children who had written him letters after the Sandy Hook massacre.
Below are the 23 executive actions signed by President Obama:
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 rules 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