Today, President Obama unveiled an extensive order and urged Congress to take action.
The 23-point plan focuses on four key areas: closing background check loopholes; banning on military assault weapons and high capacity ammunition clips; providing schools with enhanced safety resources; and increasing access to mental health services for those in need.
“I will put everything I’ve got into this,” said Obama, speaking to relatives of Newtown school shooting victims and children who filled the room. “While there is no law, or set of laws that will prevent every tragedy, every act of evil, if there’s even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there’s even one life that can be saved, then we’ve got an obligation to try. And I’m going to do my part.”
Obama emphasized that change won’t happen unless all Americans from every background support the proposal. He urged all Americans to say, “‘Enough, we’ve suffered too much pain and care too much about our children to allow this to continue.’ Then, change will come,” said Obama. “That’s what it’s going to take.”
As for his sweeping 23-point plan he says, “This is our first task as a society: keeping our children safe. This is how we will be judged, and their voices should compel us to change.” Many of the executive orders in his plan of action are intended to help the mentally ill receive treatment. Other measures call on the Centers for Disease Control to conduct gun violence research. The president also asked Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. to carefully review segments of the population that should not possess a firearm.
However, the high-stakes gun control political battle took a sharp, and rather unexpected, turn on the president’s two daughters, Malia and Sasha Obama, on Tuesday. A TV ad from the National Rifle Association began airing on the Sportman Channel on Tuesday calling the president a hypocrite for being hesitant for placing armed guards in schools across America when his own daughters are protected by the Secret Service every day. “Are the president’s kids more important than yours?” the narrator says. In a response to the ad, Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement, “Most Americans agree that a president’s children should not be used as pawns in a political fight. But to go so far as to make the safety of the president’s children the subject of an attack ad is repugnant and cowardly.”
Review President Obama’s complete 23-point plan below:
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 rule making 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 the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (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 Department of Justice 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 CDC 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 Kathleen Sebelius and Arne Duncan on mental health
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