In the wake of the Sandy Hook school shootings, the President has released his plan to improve gun safety and hopefully prevent future massacres and gun related deaths.
Here's a list of his major principles:
- Require criminal background checks for all gun sales.
- Take four executive actions to ensure information on dangerous individuals is available to the background check system.
- Reinstate and strengthen the assault weapons ban.
- Restore the 10-round limit on ammunition magazines.
- Protect police by finishing the job of getting rid of armor-piercing bullets.
- Give law enforcement additional tools to prevent and prosecute gun crime.
- End the freeze on gun violence research.
- Make our schools safer with more school resource officers and school counselors, safer climates, and better emergency response plans.
- Help ensure that young people get the mental health treatment they need.
- Ensure health insurance plans cover mental health benefits.
On top of these principles the President also issued 23 executive orders:
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.
“The senseless tragedy in Newtown was a tipping point and galvanization for action. As educators, we have grieved too long and too often—for the children killed, their families and the heroic educators who gave their lives trying to protect their students. Now more than ever we need to do what is necessary to make sure every child in our nation’s public schools has a safe and secure learning environment.
“We commend President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden for moving swiftly and presenting concrete, bold steps to keep children safe and begin addressing gun violence in America. We believe the common-sense recommendations put forth by President Obama are an important first step toward keeping children safe, providing more support for students and educators, and keeping military-style weapons out of the hands of those who shouldn't have them. To solve the problem, we must have not only meaningful action on preventing gun violence but also bullying prevention and much greater access to mental health services, so that educators and families can identify problems and intervene before it’s too late.
In a letter to Vice President Biden, the NEA outlined its proposal that, while including sensible gun safety recommendations, focuses on truly preventive measures, including greater access to mental health services, plus the infrastructure, training and programs that will ensure safe learning environments for the nation’s children.
The presidential recommendations are in line with the views of NEA members. A new NEA member poll released yesterday indicates overwhelming support for stronger gun violence prevention laws, including background checks and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazine clips. The NEA members polled also overwhelmingly rejected the idea of arming educators.
“The idea of arming teachers as some had suggested was rightly and soundly rejected by the president’s task force. We especially welcome the president’s comprehensive approach by allowing school districts the option to design and implement appropriate measures to make schools safer and protect their students.
“With the clock ticking to prevent another Sandy Hook and Americans demanding swift action, the nation’s attention now is squarely on Congress. The time is now for Washington to put politics aside and work together to keep our children safe and reduce the incidence of gun violence in our communities.”