Connecticut School Shooting: Obama Backs New Assault Weapons Ban

Barack Obama threw his political weight behind the campaign to reinstate a ban on assault weapons in a move that would be the most significant tightening of US gun laws in almost two decades.

President Barack Obama listens to Cecilia Muñoz, Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council, during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Dec. 18, 2012. At right is Roberto Rodriquez, Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy. Photo: Pete Souza/The White House

President Obama supports efforts to reinstate an assault weapons ban as part of a comprehensive plan to address gun violence, his spokesman said Tuesday.

Obama “began the first serious push of his administration to attempt to reduce gun violence, directing Cabinet members to formulate a set of proposals that could include reinstating a ban on assault rifles. The effort will be led by Vice President Biden.”

The White House spokesman, Jay Carney, said the president was “actively supportive” of the legislation being proposed by Senator Dianne Feinstein that would ban weapons like the Bushmaster .223 that coroners said had claimed the majority of the young victims’ lives.

He added that Mr. Obama would also support addressing the problem of the so-called “gun show loophole”, which enables buyers at gun shows to avoid background-checks, as well as curbs on ammunition clips larger than 10 rounds.

And Obama is “interested in looking” at banning high-capacity ammunition clips like those used in Friday’s massacre in Connecticut and in the movie theater rampage in Aurora, Colo.

Gun sales, including those of assault rifles, have risen since Friday, a sign that enthusiasts fear that new legislation is coming, the BBC’s Paul Adams in Washington reports.

At the same time, share prices of several gun manufacturers have fallen and a private equity firm has sold its stake in the company that makes the assault rifle used at Newtown, after pressure from one of its biggest investors, a California teachers retirement fund, write the BBC News.

According to the NY Daily News, there was no “Manchin Moment” among big-name Republicans similar to Monday’s stunning declaration by pro-gun Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia that “everything should be on the table” in the approaching debate over gun control.

“As we continue to learn the facts, Congress will examine whether there is an appropriate and constitutional response that would better protect our citizens,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in deflecting specific questions on the issue.

In service for the 20 school children and six adults killed during the attack on Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School, the president said that:

“If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that — then surely we have an obligation to try.

The president continued: “In the coming weeks, I will use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens — from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators — in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.”

As the Telegraph reports, the news that Mr. Obama was unequivocally supporting the reinstatement of Bill Clinton’s 1994 assault weapons – which was allowed to lapse in 2004 – is a major political boost for advocates of stricter gun control, but it does not guarantee the measure will pass Republican-controlled of Congress.

However, for Obama things are going pretty well.  President Obama’s approval rating has reached 57 percent, a CBS News poll released Tuesday found.

This marks Obama’s strongest rating in the poll since the death of Osama bin Laden in May 2011. His rating in the poll is up from October, when a pre-election poll found 50 percent of voters approving of the president’s performance.

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