President Obama Says Assault Weapons Ban Deserves a Vote in Congress

NEW YORK | Monday, February 4th, 2013 9:32pm EDT

President Obama urged Congress on Monday to at least hold a vote on banning assault weapons, the most important step towards restricting of gun violence in the United States.

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President Barack Obama delivers remarks following a roundtable discussion with local leaders and law enforcement officials on how to reduce gun violence, at the Minneapolis Police Department Special Operations Center in Minneapolis, Minn., Feb. 4, 2013. Photo: Pete Souza/The White House Photo

Monday saw President Obama calling once again for a comprehensive package of steps against gun violence in the country.

The re-elected president joined a discussion with Minneapolis officials and later addressed to police officers and others explaining that an increase in gun violence in the United States in recent months made it vital to address the issue now.

“No law or set of laws can keep our children completely safe,” Obama said in calling for “basic, commonsense steps to reduce gun violence. If there’s one life we can save, we’ve got an obligation to try.”

Mr Obama also briefly outlined some steps that are believed to help reduce gun violence in America, and suggested that lobbyists are threatening to prevent action on the subject.

“We don’t have to agree on everything to agree it’s time to do something,” said the president, who was surrounded by lawmakers and local law enforcement agents. “That’s my main message here today. And each of us has a role to play.”

As CBS News reports, Mr Obama noted that law enforcement officials and community leaders offer a valuable and unique perspective on the subject of gun violence and “must have a seat at the table” if real measures are undertake for the sake of gun violence safety.

“They’re the ones on the front lines of this fight. They see the awful consequences – the lives lost, the families shattered. They know what works, they know what doesn’t work, and they know how to get things done without regard for politics,” he said.

He went on, arguing: “They all believe it’s time to take some basic common sense steps to reduce gun violence.”

Despite of the fact that Obama believes that most of Americans do support his measure considering the fight with gun violence, he still admitted numerous difficulties in confronting pro-gun forces, who have successfully fought off tougher gun laws for years.

“The only way we can reduce gun violence in this country is if the American people decide it’s important,” President Obama said.

He went on, adding: “So right now, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate are working on a bill that would ban anyone from selling a gun to somebody legally prohibited from owning one. That’s common sense. There’s no reason we can’t get that done.”

“If we’ve got lobbyists in Washington claiming to speak for gun owners, saying something different [than they believe], we need to go to the source and reach out to people directly… We can’t allow those filters to get in the way of common sense.”

And when noting some supposedly encouraging signs of bipartisan agreement on the issue, Mr Obama also conceded, “you can’t count on anything in Washington until it’s done, and nothing’s done yet. That’s why I need everybody who’s listening to keep the pressure on their member of Congress to do the right thing.”

As The Huffington Post writes, now there is no Republican who has publicly backed an assault weapons ban. However, it doesn’t seem to appear a problem in the Judiciary committee, where Democrats have ten members to the GOP’s eight.

Of those Democratic members, only two, Leahy and Sen. Chris Coons are question marks. But it would prove to be a major hurdle on the Senate floor, where 60 votes would be needed to shut off debate.

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