Watch President Obama's live remarks here on WTSP.com, beginning at 11:55 a.m.
(CBS NEWS) -- President Obama will formally announce his proposals today for
reducing gun violence in America, setting the stage for what may well be
a protracted congressional fight over tightening up gun control -- one
of the most politically contentious issues in Washington.
While the president reportedly
plans to implement a list of 19 executive orders - laws that can be
changed without congressional action, including some that are related to
data collection on firearms in the hands of criminals and overall gun
violence - there are a few ideas that he needs to work with Congress on
that he and Vice President Joe Biden have already discussed in public.
Here's a rundown of some of the proposals Mr. Obama is expected to outline, and what they would do:
Assault weapons ban
passed the original assault weapons ban in 1994, thus imposing a
10-year ban on 19 types of military-style assault weapons, including
semi-automatic rifles and pistols like AK-47s and Uzis.
provision, which was originally authored by then-Sen. Biden, languished
in Congress when it was up for reauthorization, and subsequent efforts
to reinstate it have fallen short. Mr. Obama has long supported
reinstating the ban, but his current efforts mark the first time in his
presidency that he's made a hard legislative push to get the law back in
According to White House sources, Mr. Obama's weapons ban
will be tougher than the one that expired in 2004 is closely aligned
with the legislation being drafted by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.,
though even some Democrats - including Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid, D-Nev. - are skeptical such a law can make its way through
Congress in the face of strong opposition from the National Rifle
Ban on high-capacity magazines
issue that has surfaced in the wake of recent mass shootings is the
legality of high-capacity ammunition magazines, which can enable a
shooter to fire off dozens of rounds of ammunition without having to
The prevalence of these kinds of clips in recent shootings --
including this summer's movie theater rampage in Aurora, Colo., as well
as the recent massacre in Newtown, Conn. -- has led to a chorus of cries
that they be banned. CBS News has learned the White House will push for
magazines to be capped at 10 bullets per.
Universal background checks
meetings with stakeholders about reducing gun violence last week, Biden
stressed what he called a "surprising recurrence of suggestions that we
have universal background checks" for gun owners across the nation.
Now, the idea of universal criminal and mental health background checks
for all firearms sales is emerging as the central priority in the
president's campaign. Currently, criminal background checks are required
only for guns sold through licensed firearm dealers, which according to
the Campaign to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) account for only 60 percent of
gun sales in the United States.
One loophole also allows those not
"engaged in the business" of gun selling to peddle firearms without a
license or without filing any paperwork -- which means that, according
to the CSGV, only three of every five guns are sold in conjunction with
background checks. Today, Mr. Obama will urge lawmakers to help shore up
Federal funds for national background checks
also call for increased federal funds to improve the national
background check system for gun purchases. That would mean money for
more personnel to answer phones when background checks are made, more
agents to inspect licensed firearms dealers, and to fully fund promises
made in legislation passed after the Virginia Tech massacre, which gives
states money to collect and document mental health data in the national
background check database.
Research on gun violence
addition to his proposals for directly legislating access to guns and
ammunition, Mr. Obama is has suggested he'll make a push for expanding
the research opportunities on gun violence.
On Monday, New York City
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who founded Mayors Against Illegal Drugs,
released a scathing report on how the gun lobby has facilitated a
decrease in federal funding for the research and prevention of gun
For instance, the report says the Center for Disease Control's
budget on firearm injury prevention has decreased by 96 percent in the
past two decades, and that the Justice Department -- which funded 32
studies on gun violence in the early 1990s -- has funded no studies on
gun violence in the past four years. Biden suggested last week that the
White House is looking to change that trend.
Department of Health and Human Services later this year will issue a
rule to implement the Mental Health Parity Act, which equalizes mental
health services and access with other "traditional" forms of medical
care. This is to expand the coverage and availability of mental health
services to vulnerable populations.
Also, the president will call for
more training for mental health professionals and school counselors and
may provide some federal funds for this goal. He will also seek better
mental health training for first responders so they might detect mental
health problems or warning signs.
On the school safety
front, Mr. Obama will use this package to push for stronger
anti-bullying efforts by beefing up training for teachers, counselors
and principals to detect bullying, combat it at the source and provide
mental health resources to the perpetrators and victims.
will also push for federal funds for more school counselors and mental
health aides and for schools and school districts that want to hire
armed and trained security officers.