Obama endorses gun measures but not sure about Congress nod
Washington: One month after a shocking incident of school shooting rattled the US, President Barack Obama on Monday lent his endorsement to a slew of gun control measures including bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines besides appreciating a list of "sensible, common steps" received from Vice President Joe Biden and said that a comprehensive outline over the gun control measures would be prepared within days.
Obama whose second term starts January 20, had assigned Vice President Joe Biden with the task of assorting recommendations over the gun control laws after the heinous act of shooting at Connecticut school claimed 26 innocent lives on Dec 14.
"I'm grateful to Vice President Biden for his work on this issue of gun violence and for his proposals, which I'm going to be reviewing today and I will address in the next few days and I intend to vigorously pursue," Obama said.
Obama met with Biden on Monday afternoon to discuss the vice president's recommendations. Ahead of that meeting, Biden huddled with a dozen House Democrats who have formed their own gun violence task force and whose political muscle will be needed to push legislation through Congress.
Biden identified 19 potential executive actions the president could enact on his own, said Jenny Werwa, communications director for California Rep. Jackie Speier, who joined other Democratic House members at a meeting with the vice president Monday.
Among the executive actions Biden is believed to have recommended to Obama are tougher penalties for people who lie on background checks, elevating gun trafficking to a felony charge and ending limits that make it harder for the federal government to research gun violence.
But the most sweeping and contentious elements — including an assault weapons ban — will require approval from a Congress that has been loath to tackle gun control legislation for more than a decade. The politically powerful NRA has vowed to fight any measure that would limit access to guns and ammunition, a hardline position that could sway some Republicans and conservative Democrats.
In spite of above mentioned measures which Obama seems to be eager to implement, it is not certain if Congress would facilitate the approval of all as Obama himself said, "Will all of them get through this Congress? I don't know."
Despite the opposition, Obama said he would "vigorously pursue" measures to tighten gun laws.
"My starting point is not to worry about the politics," he said.
He said lawmakers would have to "examine their own conscience" as they tackle gun control legislation after the horrifying Connecticut school shootings but in the face of opposition from the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun rights groups.
Obama spoke at a midday White House news conference one month after the Newtown elementary school rampage, which ignited a national discussion on preventing mass shootings.
The president will unveil a comprehensive roadmap for curbing gun violence within days, perhaps as early as Wednesday. His plan will be based on recommendations from Vice President Joe Biden's gun task force and is expected to include both legislative proposals and several steps Obama can implement himself using his presidential powers.
The president's new resolve follows a lack of movement in tackling gun violence throughout much of his first term, despite several high-profile shootings. He called the Dec. 14 massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School the worst day of his presidency and vowed to take action.