Tuesday Newsday [1.29.12]

This month, President Obama has officially undertaken two significant political issues: immigration reform and gun control.

His plan for new immigration was officially released today. You can watch his speech here, or read the full text here.

 

The gun control plan is also well underway. Read the official White House publication (which includes a link to the full text) here.

The plan includes 23 executive orders. Executive orders sound scary and can be really confusing, so I have listed exactly what they are here. Don’t worry, one of them is not “take away guns.” Only congress can do that.

President Obama’s 23 Executive Orders effective January 26, 2013

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.

This is obviously a very controversial issue, and it should be taken very seriously. For people like us who want to contribute positively to a nation undergoing this kind of change, that means choosing not to scream and shout and spread fear (in either direction), but rather choosing to be informed, and sharing that information with others.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment your thoughts below!

Westin

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