Obama vows vigorous effort to implement new gun measures

WASHINGTON Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:26am IST

U.S. President Barack Obama takes questions from reporters during a news conference at the White House in Washington, January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama takes questions from reporters during a news conference at the White House in Washington, January 14, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Monday that he would formally present this week a list of "sensible, common sense steps" to reduce gun violence from Vice President Joe Biden and vowed to work vigorously to implement them.

Though the proposals have not been made public, a rough outline of what the president hopes to pursue is clear. Obama reiterated that he would support reinstating a ban on assault weapons, stricter controls on high-capacity ammunition clips, and stronger background checks.

Biden and other members of Obama's cabinet have held a series of meetings with officials in the weapons and entertainment industry as part of a task force requested by the president after the December 14 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 20 children and six adults were killed.

Obama, who has said the day of the shooting was the worst of his presidency, told reporters at a news conference that some of the proposals would require legislation while others could be accomplished without congressional approval.

"I'm confident that there are some steps that we can take that don't require legislation and that are within my authority as president," Obama said. "And where you get a step that has the opportunity to reduce the possibility of gun violence, then I want to go ahead and take it."

Obama is scheduled to meet with Biden and other advisers involved in crafting the proposals on Monday. Biden had said he expected to submit his ideas by Tuesday, so the president's remarks indicated an even more accelerated schedule than the already hurried pace Biden's team has followed to date.

A White House official said the president would present his "plan for moving forward" later in the week, but declined to pinpoint a day.

The president suggested that changes to how data on guns used by criminals is gathered and tracked could be made through an administrative action.

APPEAL TO CONSCIENCE

Obama acknowledged that some of the legislative proposals could have trouble getting through Congress, but he appealed to lawmakers to listen to their conscience once the legislative process begins.

"Members of Congress, I think, are going to have to have a debate and examine their own conscience," he said.

"If in fact - and I believe this is true - everybody across party lines was as deeply moved ... as I was by what happened in Newtown, then we're going to have to vote based on what we think is best. We're going to have to come up with answers that set politics aside."

There is opposition in both major parties to restricting the access and availability of guns, although Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, traditionally are seen as being more resistant to such efforts.

Obama, a Democrat who won re-election in November, said gun enthusiasts would be hard-pressed to say his administration had infringed on their constitutional right to bear arms, and he said gun control opponents were responsible for stoking concerns that had led to long lines at gun stores.

"Those who oppose any common sense gun control or gun safety measures have a pretty effective way of ginning up fear on the part of gun owners that somehow the federal government's about to take all your guns away," he said.

"Those of us who look at this problem have repeatedly said that responsible gun owners, people who have a gun for protection, for hunting, for sportsmanship, they don't have anything to worry about." (Additional reporting by Steve Holland and Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Paul Simao)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

AFGHANISTAN ELECTION

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Deadly gun attack in eastern Ukraine shakes fragile Geneva accord.  Full Article 

Everest Avalanche

Everest Avalanche

Search ends for missing on Everest, some Sherpas call for shutdown.  Full Article 

Ferry Tragedy

Ferry Tragedy

Prosecutors extend Korea ferry captain's detention as death toll mounts.  Full Article 

Happy Easter

Happy Easter

Pope presides at Vatican Mass leading Catholics into Easter.  Full Article 

Twitter Blockade

Twitter Blockade

Turkey Twitter accounts appear blocked after Erdogan court action.  Full Article 

Egypt Election

Egypt Election

Former army chief, leftist are only candidates in Egypt presidential poll.  Full Article 

Journalists Freed

Journalists Freed

Joyful homecoming for 4 French journalists after Syria captivity.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage