Bracing for Impact: Obama Readies 19 Executive Actions on Gun Control

Katie Pavlich

1/15/2013 7:18:00 AM - Katie Pavlich

Vice President Joe Biden delivered his gun control recommendations to President Barack Obama last night. Today the President is expected to announce some of them and later this week will announce as many as 19 executive actions his office will take to curb what he calls "gun violence." More from POLITICO:

The White House has identified 19 executive actions for President Barack Obama to move unilaterally on gun control, Vice President Joe Biden told a group of House Democrats on Monday, the administration’s first definitive statements about its response to last month’s mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Later this week, Obama will formally announce his proposals to reduce gun violence, which are expected to include renewal of the assault weapons ban, universal background checks and prohibition of high-capacity magazine clips. But Biden, who has been leading Obama’s task force on the response, spent two hours briefing a small group of sympathetic House Democrats on the road ahead in the latest White House outreach to invested groups.

The focus on executive orders is the result of the White House and other Democrats acknowledging the political difficulty of enacting any new gun legislation, a topic Biden did not address in Monday’s meeting.

The executive actions could include giving the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authority to conduct national research on guns, more aggressive enforcement of existing gun laws and pushing for wider sharing of existing gun databases among federal and state agencies, members of Congress in the meeting said.

Ironically, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will stand by Obama during his announcement Tuesday and has been giving him advice to the President on how to proceeed with gun control measures from the Oval Office and through Congress. The Windy City has already seen 18 murders in 2013 despite the city having the country's strictest gun control laws. More Americans are killed in Chicago each year than in Afghanistan.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said there are ways the administration can improve its chances of passing legislation this year.

Emanuel — who served in Congress from 2003 to 2009, including a stint as House Democratic Caucus chairman — helped secure passage of major gun control legislation as a senior adviser to President Bill Clinton in 1994. He said the White House should fine-tune its political message to frame the policy debate on its terms; kick off its legislative push in the Senate rather than the House; and use executive powers to make some changes administratively while prodding lawmakers into broader action.

“Focus the argument on the criminals’ access [to guns] and you’re going to get a bipartisan majority,” Emanuel said during a panel discussion at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank with ties to the administration. “It’s not about ‘gun control.’ It’s about ‘criminal access to guns.’ That changes the debate.”

Emanuel said the administration can build support on Capitol Hill if it enlists law enforcement officers as advocates and focuses its messaging on the most dangerous kinds of guns and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

The legislative process, he advised, must start in the Democrat-led Senate. If the Senate passes a gun law overhaul, he said, the Republican-led House would face intense political pressure to take up the measure. “Whatever you do, start in the Senate,” he said.

President Obama is likely to purposely overstep his executive authority on gun control, that way, he gets his meausures through temporaily so he can say he did something for his base and then it will get tied up in the court system for years.

Senator Dianne Feinstein is expected to introduce her gun control legislation on January 22, which includes a ban on certain shotguns, semi-automatic handguns with detachable magazines, semi-automatic rifles and more. As I wrote yesterday, some shooting companies are rushing to get customers their orders before executive action is taken.

UPDATE: Is impeachment on the table? Looks like it.

Texas Republican Rep. Steve Stockman threatened Monday afternoon that he would file articles of impeachment against President Barack Obama if he institutes gun control measures with an executive order.

Stockman warned that such executive orders would be “unconstitutional” and “infringe on our constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms.”

“I will seek to thwart this action by any means necessary, including but not limited to eliminating funding for implementation, defunding the White House, and even filing articles of impeachment,” Stockman said in a statement.