WASHINGTON, D.C. – Vice President Biden promised his allies in the gun control fight that President Obama will be announcing new executive actions on gun violence now that the Senate has voted down a gun violence bill.
According to BuzzFeed, Biden told those participating in the conference call, “Look, I know you’re going to say that I’m just being an optimist and I’m trying to put a good face on this. But, you know, I’ve been around here a long time and we’ve already done, because of you, some really good things.” He added, “Number one, the president is already lining up some additional executive actions he’s going to be taking later this week.”
Biden mentioned a number of areas where executive action has been taken, including helping schools that want them to hire more armed police offers and training teachers to identify and treat possible future school shooters. “Already we have put out notifications to all communities that if they want school resource officers to use their portion of the COPS grant to be able to deal with a school resource officer or someone in the school who’s a counselor, or whatever they need,” he said.
“Secondly, we also have pushed forward grants for new and available funding for dealing with training teachers and dealing with alerting them to high-risk, you know, kids in their communities and their school that are signs that they’re going to have a real problem and may be the very kids you need to get to now before they end up like an Adam Lanza,” he said. “We also are going to have a national mental health dialogue where we’re going to vastly expand mental health availability under the Mental Health Parity act as well as the Affordable Care Act.”
Biden also said the White House is looking for ways to increase the number of people denied the right to buy a firearm under the current background check system. “We also are reviewing the list of prohibited purchasers to maybe expand that list of prohibited purchasers,” he said. “Granted, only 60% of people who go for a purchase are doing it [background checks].”
After the Newtown shootings, the President took a number of executive actions to expand research into gun violence and other areas favored by the gun control community. Here are the twenty-three Presidential executive actions taken since the Newtown shootings:
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.