Surrounded by children, President Obama announced new executive actions on gun control today at the White House and called on Congress to "restore a ban on military style assault weapons" because "weapons designed for the theater of war have no place in a movie theater."
"I intend to use whatever weight this office holds to make them a reality," Obama said. “The most important changes we can make will depend on Congressional action.”
In addition to calling for a ban on military style assault weapons, Obama demanded universal background checks and a ban on ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds. He said his office is looking into providing resource officers for "schools that want them," something the National Rifle Association suggested during a press conference in December.
Obama will release 23 executive actions today based on Vice President Joe Biden's findings after meetings with law enforcement, the NRA and anti-gun advocacy groups last week. Obama has instructed the Centers for Disease Control to launch a study about gun violence and has directed the Department of Health and Human Services to start working on improvements to the mental health system, which includes asking doctors to report anyone they feel shouldn't have a gun. Doctors will also be encouraged to talk to their patients about gun safety. A plan to launch a "safe gun ownership" campaign is also in the works. The Department of Justice will take on the role of punishing those who help criminals get guns, saying anybody who assists criminals in their efforts should be "severely punished." He must be forgetting it was his own Department of Justice that allowed violent Mexican cartels to obtain and traffic more than 2500 military assault weapons to and from the United States and Mexico. That death toll is 400 people and counting.
Biden's suggestions are expected to cost taxpayers $4.5 billion.
• $4 billion for the president’s proposal “to help keep 15,000 cops on the streets in cities and towns across the country.” (That is roughly $266,000 per police officer.)
•$20 million to “give states stronger incentives to make [relevant] data available [for background checks] … “$50 million for this purpose in FY2014”
•“$14 million to help train 14,000 more police officers and other public and private personnel to respond to active shooter situations.”
•“$10 million for the Centers for Disease Control to conduct further research, including investigating the relationship between video games, media images, and violence.”
•$20 million to expand the National Violent Death Reporting System.
•$150 million to “put up to 1,000 new school resource officers and school counselors on the job.”
It is important to point out the facts left out of Obama's movie theater reference. He was referencing the Aurora Colorado movie theater shooting in which madman James Holmes purposely chose a gun-free theater to target. At that location, military style assault weapons were banned and it did nothing to protect the people sitting defenseless in their seats. The Clinton-era assault weapons ban Obama wants reinstated expired in 2004 after doing nothing to reduce crime.
"There is no act or law that can prevent every senseless act completely...but we have a moral obligation to diminish the prospect," Obama said. "Thank you. I'm going to sign these orders."
The White House has released the full list of executive actions:
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.