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
I’m very pleased to see President Obama take such swift action on reducing gun violence. His and Vice President Biden’s efforts are laudable. I agree, the Sandy Hook shooting lit a fuse in America and I think the influence of the NRA is finally on the way out.
The NRA is on the run. Even 74% of polled members say the nation needs stricter gun control laws.
It’s clear the leadership (Wayne LaPierre) does not speak for the majority of the NRA membership and is out of touch with the group’s interests. The leadership of the NRA serves the gun industry.
After 4 years in Office, it’s nice to finally see the President take on a leadership role…….
Let’s be real. Estimates say there are more than 300 million firearms in the USA.
Obama’s proposals are an important start but they are just that — a start. Ending gun violence in the USA will take a generation, if not longer.
As Americans, we need to see life as more valuable than AK-47s.
In California we have commonsense firearms regulation. This has been true for decades and by all accounts, the laws work well. Our required waiting period, background check, and safety training did not create any problems for me when I bought a pistol. I have since turned the pistol in at a local gun by-back event. As a woman, I realized there are other ways for me to protect myself. Such as Krav Maga. I am not here to tell others what to do but personal safety is something many women rightfully worry about. We are much more vulnerable than men. My point is, many of President Obama’s 23 executive orders mirror what we have in California and they work well.
Rachel – You’re a Krav Maga girl? Phew! Badass!
And Southern Republicans in the US House are demanding President Obama is impeached. This is the type of crazy we’re up against. Even after Sandy Hook, Republicans are more loyal to the NRA than to America.
After Sandy Hook, I don’t think President Obama’s executive actions go far enough.
No one needs an automatic assault rifle. This is madness.
It takes some brass to stand up to the NRA and their minions. Republicans have been controlled by the NRA for decades. Some Democrats too. President Obama is spending political capital to tell the NRA to go fuck itself. I love it.
A New York Times poll finds 54% of Americans support stricter gun control, it was just 39% in April. The number includes 18% increase among GOP-identified Americans.
I agree with Randy Arroyo. Courage is in short supply when it came to standing up to the NRA. I am stunned by President Obama’s leadership. He’s one tough SOB and props to him.
All 23 of these executive orders appear reasonable to me. What are the gun nuts complaining about?
Have you noticed how the media loves to say “the NRA has 4 million members”? Like we’re supposed to be in awe. The fact is, MoveOn.org has 7 million members. Yet the media never mentions this. I wonder why?
Way to use Executive Orders for good, not evil (like GW Bush abuses in the past).
But the gun nuts have their *talking points*.
• The Constitution is being violated
• Tyranny is coming
• Firepower of civilians should match that of the Government
(Yea right! We wants Nukes, Smart bombs & Drones w bombs in the hands of ordinary civilians.)
• Why should law abiding gun owners “suffer” because of law breakers.
Void of their conversation:
• What about the rights of citizens to function w/o being randomly killed?
• High capacity firearms have no civilian application. Not good for hunting or basic personal protection.
• Insanity is doing the same thing & expecting different results.
The one thing I wish they would do is put an immediate ban on selling high capacity bullet magazines. People are hoarding them now, while they are available.
Shut that down.
Also word type of gun restrictions in a way that gun manufacturers can’t just change a feature or 2, give it a new name & invent a new “legal” weapon.
They really did cay & muse it on previous assault rifle bans.
Seems like they need a “WAR” Weapons & Ammunition Regulation department (kind of like the FDA) to have to go through an approval process as to what items are allowed.
Kudos to NY state for enacting the toughest new gun laws. 7 bullet maximum capacity.
Way to go!
And the gun nuts in places like Texas are calling for President Obama’s impeachment.
Maybe the time has come to bring back the Mason-Dixon line and divide this nation in half? At least then, we would know where the crazies are and we could keep an eye on them.
P.S. I love the photo of Obama flanked by the kids. Saw a clip of them giving each other high 5’s before he signed. Just to remind everyone this involves the children.