President Obama announced bold steps on gun reform today, in one of the biggest announcements of his presidency. Obama will sign 23 executive orders addressing gun reforms, and present a host of proposals to Congress. This is a new level of boldness for the President, who recognizes that he has a short window to make gun reforms happen.
Here is some of what Obama is making happen instantly through executive orders (the only parts of this that will definitely happen):
- Six of the executive orders mandate background checks, and facilitate background checks.
- Two executive orders deal with safe gun ownership through a public awareness campaign and a review of standards around guns and gun locks.
- Two deal with lost or stolen guns, and guns recovered from crime scenes.
- Two address training for first responders, school officials and places of worship around crisis situations, a third provides incentives for schools to hire "resource officers," a move aimed partly at reducing bullying.
- And, a big and pleasant surprise for many people: six executive orders related to mental health issues.
- The remaining five involve seeking harsh penalties for gun violence, nominating a director to the department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (which of those things is not like the others?). developing new gun safety technologies, and directing the Center for Disease Control to look into the causes of gun violence.
Got all that? Now the legislative proposals. Remember, these would have to be digested, processed and voted on by both the Senate and (good luck with) the House. Obama did not present specific legislative language, but instead outlined proposals and will let the members of Congress hash out the details.
- Reinstate the Assault Weapons Ban, which was the law of the land from 1994-2004.
- Limit High-Capacity Magazines to 10 Bullets: you get 10 shots, then you have to reload.
- Prevent Gun Trafficking Between States, a favorite of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, would not prevent legal interstate sales.
- Get Rid of Armor Piercing Bullets. Cops wear armor. Deers don't.
- Universal Background Checks. You want a gun, you have to pass a quick sniff at your past.
Of those, limiting high-capacity magazines and universal background checks have a good chance of passing both houses and making it back to Obama. The other? Like I said, good luck with the House.