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White House announces 23 executive orders on gun violence




U.S. President Barack Obama signs a series of executive orders about the administration's new gun law proposals as children who wrote letters to the White House about gun violence, (L-R) Hinna Zeejah, Taejah Goode, Julia Stokes and Grant Fritz, look on in the Eisenhower Executive Office building January 16, 2013 in Washington, DC.
U.S. President Barack Obama signs a series of executive orders about the administration's new gun law proposals as children who wrote letters to the White House about gun violence, (L-R) Hinna Zeejah, Taejah Goode, Julia Stokes and Grant Fritz, look on in the Eisenhower Executive Office building January 16, 2013 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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In the month since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, Vice President Biden has led a committee tasked with honing in on ways to curb gun violence. The 23 executive orders announced by President Obama this morning include more stringent background checks for those purchasing guns, a ban on high capacity magazines and assault weapons, and a commitment to finalizing mental health parity regulations.

While many of the President’s proposals will require Congressional action and legislative battles, some will likely have an immediate effect. A large part of the recent gun violence discourse has been a focus on mental illness. Gun control advocates aim to close gaping loopholes in the current background check system and to regulate types of guns and ammunition become publicly available.

Gun advocacy groups argue that the concentration should be on mental illness; there have been proposals that psychologists and psychiatrists should disclose information on patients who may pose a violent threat. President Obama’s announcement also included a directive to improve mental health services alongside other gun control legislation.

What is the role of mental health in the gun violence discussion? What is the most important focus point in this dialogue? What kind of weight will President Obama’s executive action carry in the grand scheme of things?

Guests:  

Erwin Chemerinsky,  Dean and professor of law at the UC Irvine School of Law.

Paul Neuharth,
 Attorney based in San Diego who works on gun ownership cases

Doyle McManus, Washington Columnist for the Los Angeles Times

The following are the 23 Executive Actions the President announced Wednesday: