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Gun control will be uphill battle

January 18, 2013 12:10 am

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President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden and children who wrote the president about gun violence after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.

BY ERICA WERNER

BY ERICA WERNER

Associated Press

WASHINGTON

--President Barack Obama's sweeping gun-control package faces an uncertain future on Capitol Hill, where majority House Republicans are rejecting his proposals while the president's allies in the Democratic-controlled Senate are stopping well short of pledging immediate action.

The fate of his plan could ultimately hinge on a handful of moderate Democratic senators. Although they are unlikely to endorse the president's call for banning assault weapons, they might go along with other proposals, such as requiring universal background checks on gun purchases.

Several of these senators responded warily after Obama unveiled his proposals Wednesday with the challenge that "Congress must act soon."

"I will look closely at all proposals on the table, but we must use common sense and respect our Constitution," said Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. Tester told the Missoulian newspaper in his home state recently that he supports background checks but doesn't think an assault weapons ban would have stopped the shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman massacred 20 children and six adults before turning the gun on himself.

Obama's proposals came a month after the shootings in Newtown, which he has called the worst day of his presidency. His announcements capped a swift and wide-ranging effort, led by Vice President Joe Biden, to respond to the deaths.

The $500 million plan marks the most comprehensive effort to tighten gun laws in nearly two decades. It also sets up a tough political fight with Congress as Obama starts his second term needing Republican support to meet three looming fiscal deadlines and pass comprehensive immigration reform.

The White House strategy for pressing Congress centers on building public support for the president's measures.

"There's only one voice powerful enough to make this happen: yours," Obama wrote in an op-ed Thursday in The Connecticut Post.





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