Feb 4, 2013 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
Excerpted from CNN: President Barack Obama on Monday reiterated his call for a comprehensive package of steps against gun violence as the focus on possible Senate legislation appeared to narrow to expanded background checks and limited ammunition magazines, rather than a ban on semi-automatic rifles that mimic assault weapons.
Obama took part in a discussion with Minneapolis officials before telling police officers and others that an increase in gun violence nationwide, including the Connecticut school massacre in December, 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.”
He added, “if there’s one life we can save, we’ve got an obligation to try.”
Obama emphasized his support for banning semi-automatic rifles modeled after military weapons as part of an updated version of an earlier weapons ban that expired in 2004.
Opponents led by the influential National Rifle Association, oppose any ban on weapons, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated that such a provision faced an uphill struggle.
Reid told ABC on Sunday that he backed expanding background checks to private gun sales at shows and other steps, but he refused to endorse a ban on what are called assault-style rifles modeled after military weapons.
Obama and other supporters of stronger gun control measures say all possible efforts must be made to address what they call a chronic and growing problem of gun violence, particularly involving vulnerable targets such as students.
Reid of Nevada is the top Senate Democrat, who sets the chamber’s legislative schedule. He said Sunday that he wants the Judiciary Committee to produce a bill that could be debated by the full Senate and would be open to proposed amendments by any senator.
However, Reid signaled that the committee version would lack the ban on assault-style weapons.
“If Dianne Feinstein, by the time it’s through the Judiciary Committee, if she doesn’t have her assault weapons, at least let her have an opportunity to offer this amendment” on the Senate floor, Reid told ABC.
Reid, who noted he owned guns and was a former law officer, said he opposed the Clinton-era assault weapons ban that expired midway through the Bush administration.