By Miriam Raftery
January 17, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – As ECM reported earlier, President Obama has announced a package of reforms aimed at stemming gun violence in the wake of numerous mass shootings. Initial media reports were unclear on which actions were done as executive orders by the President for immediate implementation, and which actions require Congressional approval. So ECM contacted the White House.
“I am providing you with two things that might help your readers understand the President’s announcement yesterday," Brian Lepow with the White House press office responded. “ THIS LINK will take you to the President’s transcript from yesterday. I have also attached a fact sheet and executive summary on the package of proposals to reduce gun violence and a list of gun violence reduction executive actions.
Congressional approval of new legislation are needed to require background checks for all gun sales, reinstate a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines, renewing and strengthening a ban on assault weapons, outlaw armor-piercing bullet sales, beef up penalties for gun traffickers, fund a $4 billion proposal to keep 15,000 police officers on the streets, and more.
But many other steps aimed at reducing gun violence were taken with the signing of 23 Executive Actions taken unilaterally by the President. The actions are far-ranging, from encouraging mental health professionals to report threats of violence to loosing medical privacy constraints, improving school safety, and improving database access for background checks of gun purchasers.
Below are the 23 executive actions taken to reduce gun violence:
Gun Violence Reduction 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.
For additional details on these actions, as well as more information on proposals requiring legislative action, click on the links at the top of this article.