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Obama unveils new gun control plans, signs 23 executive actions

US President Barack Obama has signed 23 executive actions aiming to curb gun violence. He called on Congress to pass deeper measures including an assault weapons ban and universal background checks for gun buyers.

President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed 23 executive actions intended to curb gun violence. The new actions don't require congressional support. Obama also called on Congress for speedy action on gun control measures.

The executive actions are part of a package drawn up by a task force led by Vice President Joe Biden. The measures come a month after the mass school shooting in Connecticut that killed 20 children and six adults.

Some of Obama's newly inked executive orders include a national campaign on responsible gun ownership, a review of safety standards for gun safes in the home, and training designed to help schools better respond to an armed attack. The president has also called for research into the causes of gun violence, and ways to prevent it.

Many of the more hard-hitting recommendations require Congress to pass new laws.

Watch video 01:21

Obama calls for ban on assault weapons

Obama has called on Congress to pass the measures, which include universal background checks for gun buyers, a renewal of the federal ban on sales of military-style assault weapons, a ban on magazine clips holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, and a ban on armor-piercing bullets.

Speaking from an event at the White House, with relatives of children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary school present, Obama said, "Congress must act. Congress must act soon," and pledged "whatever weight this office holds" to make the proposals a reality.

Obama also said he would nominate Todd Jones as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Jones is the agency's acting director.

The US state of New York became the first since the Connecticut shooting to pass tougher gun control laws on Tuesday. The new law focused on mental health screening.

hc/msh (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)

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