Biden Hails the 23 Gun Control Steps Obama Took on His Own

By Susan Jones | December 3, 2013 | 10:33am EST

Vice President Joe Biden is welcomed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prior to their talks at Abe's official residence in Tokyo Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013. Biden is on the first leg of his three-nation Asian tour. (AP Photo/Toru Yamanaka, Pool)

( - On Monday, invoking the Dec. 14 "tragedy in Newtown," Vice President Joe Biden told Americans, "You have my word that the President and I are doing everything we can to make sure no parent loses their child to gun violence."

And he admitted that they're doing it "on our own," without Congress.

"And so even after a minority of senators blocked commonsense legislation to reduce gun violence this spring, we're pushing forward," he said.

"Now, it's not enough to take these steps on our own -- we still need Congress to pass comprehensive legislation to reduce gun violence. We need expanded background checks, and we need to create serious penalties for gun trafficking. There is no question that these kinds of measures would protect our kids and keep our communities safer."

Biden hailed the 23 "executive actions" President Obama laid out in January to reduce "gun violence." Biden said the administration has either completed or made significant progress on all of them.

"No parent should ever face the horror of the scene at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Or a movie theater in Aurora. Or a temple in Oak Creek. Or the campus at Virginia Tech. We've seen too much gun violence as a country. And if there's even one thing we can do to save a life, it is our most sacred duty to try. That's where I stand," said Biden, who may be contemplating a run for president in 2016.

The anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting is a week from Saturday, and Connecticut officials are expected to release recordings of the 911 calls on Wednesday.

Biden was in Asia when the White House released his tough-on-guns message, which was signed "Joe."

The message links to a list of the "progress we've made" on the 23 executive actions. Here are a few of them:

-- "Begun to address unnecessary legal barriers that prevent states from reporting information about those prohibited from having guns."

-- "Issued a presidential memorandum requiring federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations."

-- "Took steps to maximize enforcement efforts."

-- "Helped law enforcement avoid returning guns to the wrong hands."

-- "Published data on lost and stolen guns."

-- "Reviewed categories of dangerous people prohibited from having guns."

You can see the full list of executive actions here.

On Tuesday, coincidentally, the House Judiciary Committee was holding a hearing on the president's "constitutional duty to faithfully execute the laws."

Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) told Fox News on Tuesday that she and other members of Congress are "appalled at the president's actions -- they are clearly unconstitutional." Bachmann said the Constitution limits the president's power -- "even though the president doesn't act that way."

Bachmann said Obama can't "unilaterally make these decisions, Congress is a part of the government as well, you're not a king, you're not a dictator" -- even though he sometimes acts that way.

The list of Republican complaints includes Obama's unilateral changes to the Affordable Care Act, which Bachmann called "political management"; and his use of "prosecutorial discretion" in determining which illegal aliens to deport.

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