On Wednesday, President Obama unveiled a comprehensive slate of gun-control proposals, in what is widely seen as the most expansive effort by the executive branch in recent memory to reduce gun violence in America. As expected, Obama called on Congress to implement universal background checks for guns; reinstate a federal ban on military-style assault weapons; and set a 10-round limit for gun magazines. With a group of children standing behind him, Obama said, "While reducing gun violence is a complicated challenge, protecting our children from harm shouldn't be a divisive one." He added, "The most important changes we can make depend on congressional action. They need to bring these proposals up for a vote."
Obama also signed 23 executive actions to bolster gun control, a controversial move that has already enraged some conservatives. They include ordering federal agencies to contribute information to a federal background check system; urging states to share information from background checks; strengthening the enforcement of existing gun laws; and nominating a director to the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco, a weakened agency that is technically the president's most potent bureaucratic tool to enforce gun laws. The 23 actions are listed in full below.
Gun Violence Reduction Executive Actions
Today, the President is announcing that he and the Administration will:
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.
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