Obama to propose sweeping gun control measures Wednesday

Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:58pm EST
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By Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will propose an assault weapons ban and better background checks for gun buyers on Wednesday as part of a package of proposals to curb gun violence one month after the Newtown school massacre.

The proposals will include executive and legislative measures, with the latter sure to face an uphill battle in Congress, where appetite for renewing an assault weapons ban is low.

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, who led a task force that made recommendations on the issue, will present the measures at a White House event attended by children from around the country who wrote letters to the president about gun violence and school safety.

Obama will urge lawmakers to act quickly, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.

"The president has made clear that he intends to take a comprehensive approach," Carney said at a briefing.

"There are specific legislative actions that he will continue to call on Congress to take, including the assault weapons ban, including a measure to ban high-capacity magazine clips, including an effort to close the very big loopholes in the background check system in our country," he said.

The proposals will be Obama's first major foray into gun control, despite several mass shootings that have occurred during his four years in office. Gun restrictions are a divisive issue in the United States, which constitutionally protects a citizen's right to bear arms.

Biden delivered his recommendations to Obama after a series of meetings with representatives from the weapons and entertainment industries requested by the president after the December 14 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 20 children and six adults were killed.   Continued...

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney speaks during the news conference at the White House in Washington January 15, 2013. Carney announced that President Barack Obama will unveil a series of measures to counter gun violence during a White House event on Wednesday. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)