Obama's Address & Proposals Re: Gun Reform

image of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden

President Obama just finished his address on gun reform, at which he and Vice President Joe Biden announced their proposals aimed at preventing gun violence in the US. I'll put up video and transcript as soon as they become available. A full transcript of the President's and Vice President's remarks is available here.

In the meantime, here are the main objectives of the President's plan:

1. Close background check loopholes to keep guns out of dangerous hands;

2. Ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines;

3. Make schools safer; and

4. Increase access to mental health services.

The President is taking a comprehensive approach here, proposing required background checks for all public gun sales (right now, 40% of guns are purchased at gun shows or over the internet, without mandatory background checks); urging private sellers to sell via licensed dealers to facilitate background checks, even if they aren't mandatory; strengthening state reporting of criminals and people with mental illness coupled with stronger guidelines regarding what constitutes required reporting; strengthening gun tracking; promoting safe gun ownership, including a campaign to encourage storing guns safely; reinstating the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban including its high-capacity clip ban; asking Congress to criminalize the ownership and transfer of armor-piercing ammo, the sale of which is already illegal; increased funding for police, for school counseling, for safe school programs, and research into gun violence; and increasing access to mental health services for those who cannot afford it.

Following, the list of Gun Violence Reduction Executive Actions the President intends to take has signed:
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.
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