WASHINGTON -- Calling it the right thing to do, President Obama announced gun control measures Wednesday in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, some of which he will impose through executive action while urging Congress to pass gun control measures which are supported by the majority of Americans.
The measures come from a task force headed by Vice-President Joe Biden, who told reporters his final proposals included, "ways to take guns out of the wrong hands as well as ways to prevent gun violence in the first place," adding "we cannot let the perfect get in the way of the good."
In accepting Biden's proposals, President Obama said they represented concrete steps he can take right now to help keep our children safe and reduce the epidemic of gun violence in the United States. "If there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence ... than we have an obligation to try it," he told reporters. They included 23 executive actions he would implement immediately, including:
- Strengthening background check system
- Help schools hire more resource officers
- Mental illness initiatives designed to target and treat potentially violent offenders
- Fund scientific research into the causes and reducing gun violence through the National Institutes of Health
The President also pushed Congress to pass gun control legislation, which would include:
- Universal gun background check for anyone trying to buy a gun, saying 40% of all gun purchases are done without a background check.
- Restore the assault weapons ban, and put a ten round limit on gun magazines, a proposal the President noted that's similar to one former President Ronald Reagan supported in a letter to Congress in 1994.
- Tougher penalties on those who sell guns to criminals, including the confirmation of a Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
The President noted that no legislation can prevent all gun tragedies, but that Congress has an obligation to do what it can to curtail gun violence, saying,"This is our first task as a society -- keeping our children safe." He also referenced the victims of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, saying, "We honor their memories in part by doing what we can to prevent this from happening again."
Here are all 23 executive actions as compiled by CNN.
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."