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President Barack Obama reveals 23 steps to reduce gun violence

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 17th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for background checks on all gun sales and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The proposals are in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre that saw the senseless killings of 20 schoolchildren and six adults by a lone gunman last month.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - With relatives of the slain children looking on, Obama signed 23 executive actions that don't require congressional approval. The president says the measures will strengthen background checks and expand safety programs in schools.

Obama also called on Congress to reinstate an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004, to restrict ammunition magazines to no more than 10 rounds and to require a background check on anyone buying a gun. This will be across the board, and include anyone who buys a weapon at a store or in a private sale at an auction or convention.

Obama says that the U.S. must do a better job of protecting its children, especially when they are in public places such as schools, shopping malls and movie theaters.

Some of the proposals are given little chance of winning congressional approval in the face of the nation's powerful gun lobby. The president insists that all efforts must be made to reduce gun violence in America.

"This is our first task as a society -- keeping our children safe," the president said, adding that saving even one life would make the changes he seeks worth the effort.

The 23 executive actions the president is taking:

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 rule making 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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