US leader moves to scrab guns
US President Obama is ‘actively supporting’ a ban on assault rifles. REUTERS photoPresident Barack Obama Dec. 18 backed a new bid to revive an assault weapons ban and other new gun laws, as traumatized U.S. politicians wrestled with the aftermath of a sickening school massacre.
Obama also called an ardently pro-gun senator who has shifted his position on firearms laws since Dec. 14’s carnage in Connecticut and has begun meeting top cabinet officials to consider his options, his spokesman Jay Carney said, Agence France-Presse reported.
Carney said that Obama is “actively supportive” of an effort by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein to write a bill early next year to reintroduce a ban on deadly assault weapons that expired in 2004.
The killings of 26 people, including 20 children, at a Newtown elementary school sent the country into shock, and may have shifted the political debate on firearms in U.S. society, after years of gun lobby ascendancy.
Obama aides said after previous mass shootings that the president supported reintroducing a ban on weapons like the one used by Adam Lanza to gun down six and seven-year-olds, but he never put political muscle behind such a push.
Carney said Obama would also be interested in any move to ban high-capacity clips, magazines that hold dozens of rounds, and to close the so-called “gun show loophole” that allows unlicensed individuals to sell guns privately.
“He is heartened... by what we have all heard from some members of Congress who have been long-time opponents of gun control measures, common-sense gun control measures like the assault weapons ban and the like,” Carney said.
Biden to head panel on gun violence
Yesterday, Obama was set to appoint Vice President Joe Biden to head a government panel to formulate a response to gun violence, media reported. The New York Times and the Washington Post cited White House officials as saying that Obama would formally name Biden to head the panel at a press conference late yesterday. The panel will explore possible new gun legislation to rein in the sale of assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, but will also look at mental health policies and violence in popular culture.
Meanwhile, the most well known gun lobby group, the National Rifle Association, spoke up about the school carnage for the first time Dec. 18, saying it was “shocked” and pledged to hold a news conference on Dec. 21.