Prominent Republicans, including members of Congress, have responded by calling for impeachment.
It’ll be interesting to see if any of Obama’s proposals make it through Congress. If any do, I expect they will be considerably watered down. Executive Orders, of course, don’t require Congressional approval, but may be undone the next time a Republican is elected President.
Anyway, here’s the list. You can also read a transcript of Biden and Obama’s remarks at the signing of the executive orders. They talked a lot about the Newton massacre, a little about a couple of other high-profile mass shootings, and mentioned in passing the 900 Americans who have died from gun violence in the month since Newton.
I don’t think these proposals, if passed, would be a magic bullet (heh) eliminating gun violence and mass shootings. However, it’s plausible that they would reduce the numbers of gun deaths.
I’m of two minds about the mental health provisions. On the one hand, the provisions themselves, which (unless I’m missing something) seem to focus on making voluntary mental health care more accessible and affordable, are good. But attaching them to gun control, as if mental health problems are a significant driver of gun violence, is dubious at best and flat-out bigotry against mentally ill people at worst.
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The list of proposals and executive orders is under the fold.
Proposals dependent on congressional approval
1. Extend FBI background checks to all gun sales, barring a limited category of sales between family members. That would end situation in which about 40% of all sales go through private sellers at gun shows or online, with no federal investigation of the purchaser.
2. Revising the 1994 federal ban on military-style assault rifles which lapsed in 2004, while at the same time strengthening the prohibition to make sure canny gun manufacturers cannot circumvent it as they did last time round.
3. Reinstate the federal limit on the number of rounds that can be held in high-capacity magazines, with 10 rounds as the maximum. A common link between many of the mass shootings – Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora, Oak Creek and Newtown – was that large numbers were killed very quickly, partly as a result of these extended magazines.
4. Introduce new crime of possessing or transferring armour-piercing bullets to anyone other than military personnel or police.
5. Introduce serious penalties for “straw purchasers” – people who have themselves passed federal background checks who buy guns and pass them on to criminals.
6. Enact a proposal to spend $4 billion to keep 15,000 police officers on the beat in cities and towns across the US.
7. Confirm Obama’s nominee for director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) – an appointment that Congress has blocked for six years.
8. Remove restrictions on the ATF that prevent it from modernising the law on “curio or relic” firearms. At present the ATF has no option but to allow the importation of weapons manufactured more than 50 years ago – a category that now includes many semi-automatic military surplus rifles that can be easily converted into machine guns for criminal use.
9. Provide an extra $14 million to help train 14,000 police officers on how to respond when a mass shooter is active.
10. Provide $10 million for research through the Centers for Disease Control on the relationship between video games, media images and violence.
11. Award an extra $20 million to the National Violent Death Reporting System that collects data on when firearms are used in murders and suicides. The fund would allow the extension of the system from the current 18 states in which it operates to all 50 states.
12. Set up a $30 million pot of one-time grants to states to help schools develop emergency plans on how to react in the event of another Newtown.
13. Provide $25 million to fund mental health services for school students suffering trauma or anxiety relating to gun violence.
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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