President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced 23 executive actions on gun control, including one that would require law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
President Obama signed the orders to a standing ovation after a press conference where he and Vice President Joe Biden spoke on the need for a holistic approach to reducing gun violence in the United States.
The president’s approach to gun control involves everyone from healthcare providers to gun owners and schools. “We don’t live in isolation. We live in a society … We are responsible for each other,” the President said.
The actions include measures that increase background checks for all firearms purchases, assign the CDC to research on the effects of violent video games on children, make sure Medicaid knows what mental health services it must cover, and provide incentives for schools that hire more resource officers.
Forty percent of gun purchases are done without any kind of background check.
President Obama called for Congress to take steps toward 100 percent background checks, calling for lawmakers to pass proposals that would require background checks for anyone buying a gun and strengthen the background check system by giving states incentives for providing information to the background check systems. The administration will also examine if HIPAA keeps states from contributing information to the background check system.
The 22-page document outlining the White Houses’ proposals says the administration will task the CDC with research into the effects media and video games on gun violence and is asking Congress to provide $10 million to fund it.
“The most important changes we can make depend on Congressional action,” Obama said. For President Obama, those changes include banning assault weapons and armor-piercing rounds and harsher punishment weapons trafficking. They also include allotting money for gun safety technology and requiring law enforcement to trace any weapons recovered during an investigation.
For schools, the administration is developing programs that would provide $150 million to hire more resource officers, psychologists, and counselors and give grant preference to law enforcement agencies who supply officers.
The administration asks gun owners to do their part too by storing guns safely and selling their weapons through licensed dealers who can do background checks.
"The President reacts as John Brennan briefs him on the details of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The President later said during a TV interview that this was the worst day of his Presidency." (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)