- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 16, 2013

President Obama is using the national debate over gun violence to push for further action on his health care law, including insisting on the kind of mental health coverage states must provide under their Medicaid programs.

Mr. Obama, unveiling his gun proposals Wednesday barely a month after the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn., will make it clear that his health law, known as the Affordable Care Act, allows doctors to ask patients whether they have guns in their homes, and will tell them they are able to report any threats of violence they hear to police.

The president also will lay out the mental health coverage that all insurers will be required to provide under his signature-achievement law.

Those are some of the 23 executive actions Mr. Obama plans to take whether or not Congress acts on his broader recommendations, the White House said.


Other moves including offering incentives for schools to hire police; finally naming a new director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and requiring federal authorities to trace all guns recovered in their criminal investigations.

Mr. Obama also will call on his secretaries of education and health and human services to hold a national dialogue on mental health.

The entire list of the actions Mr. Obama is taking comprises:

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 rule-making 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).

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