Obama WILL back tough new gun laws: President says he now supports bill to ban assault rifles as NRA breaks its silence over Sandy Hook school massacre
President Obama to do everything within his power to support reinstating ban on assault weapons
Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein will propose bill on the first day of the next Congress in JanuaryA 10-year federal ban on sale of assault weapons expired in 2004
and was never renewed
Obama had said he would push for renewal in his first term, but it
never materializedThe NRA has broken it's silence and said it will make a 'meaningful' announcement on Friday to 'make sure this doesn't happen again'
22:41 GMT, 18 December 2012
The White House has given its clearest indication yet that President Obama will do everything in his power to reinstate a ban on assault weapons following Friday's horrific massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
After keeping relatively quiet about gun control during his first term, the President is now poised to push for new gun control measures.
Obama has long backed such a ban, but the White House has said the president can't act alone and until now there has been little appetite in Congress to enact new gun laws.
The White House says President Barack Obama is 'actively supportive' of efforts on Capitol Hill to reinstate an assault weapons ban
Presidential embrace: On Sunday Mr Obama talked to grieving father Robbie Parker about the loss of his daughter Emilie Parker, pictured right in a photo released by the family
Then on Sunday, Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein announced that she plans to
introduce legislation to reinstate the ban early in the new year.
Senator Feinstein said the bill would 'aim at limiting the sale, transfer
and possession of assault weapons, along with the capacity of
She said that her bill – along with a
similar bill in the House of Representatives – will be proposed on the
first day of the next Congress when politicians return after the
White House spokesman Jay Carney says Obama would 'actively support' Feinstein's bill and would also
support legislation to close the gun show ‘loophole,’ which allows people to
buy guns from private dealers without background checks.
The National Rifle Association,
meanwhile, which had been unusually silence following Friday's shootings
issued a statement Tuesday which offered it condolences to the families
of the victims and announced that it would be making a 'meaningful'
announcement on Friday to 'make sure this never happens again.'
The NRA statement,
emailed by spokesman Andrew Arulanandam read 'National Rifle
Association of America is made up of four million moms and dads, sons
and daughters – and we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the
news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown.
'Out of respect
for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time
for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before
'The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.
'The NRA is planning to hold a major news conference in the Washington, DC area on Friday, December 21.'
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., plans to introduce legislation to reinstate a ban on assault weapons early next year
The National Rifle Association has broken it's silence on Friday's tragedy in Newtown and claims that on Friday it will make an announcement to 'make sure this doesn't happen again'
addiction to guns was highlighted when it was revealed that more than
two million guns were purchased in America during the month of November.
On Black Friday alone, the FBI was asked to process 154,000 background checks for prospective gun owners.
President Obama has pledged to address gun violence in the
coming weeks following Friday's deadly shooting at a Connecticut elementary
He spoke Tuesday with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a
conservative Democrat and avid hunter who is now spoken out in support of a national
discussion on preventing further gun violence.
On Sunday night at a memorial service
for the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre, the President said the U.S.
wasn't doing enough to protect its children and pledged a huge effort
to 'prevent more tragedies like this.'
In one emotional meeting, the
President embraced Robbie Parker, whose six-year-old daughter Emilie was
one of those senselessly murdered.
In one of the most religious speeches of his presidency, Mr Obama talked about how the ultimate goal for a society is to protect their children.
'You are not alone in your grief,' President Obama said. 'All across this land our world too has
been torn apart. All across this land we wept with you and pulled our
children tight. Newtown, you are not alone.'
Showing he stands with Connecticut: The President flew to Newton on Sunday afternoon and spent hours meeting with victims families prior to the memorial service
Senator Joe Manchin has said Congress and weapons makers should come together on a 'sensible, reasonable approach' to curbing rifles like the one used in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School
we don't get that right, we don't get anything right. /12/17/article-2249148-168C1D88000005DC-854_634x422.jpg” width=”634″ height=”422″ alt=”Emotional: President Obama spoke slowly and deliberately during the memorial service on Sunday night” class=”blkBorder” />
Touching: The most poignant portion of the speech came when President Obama read the names of each of the 20 young victims
'But that can't be an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this,' the President added.
A particularly poignant moment came
in the speech when Mr Obama read the first names of all 20 children who
died in the shooting.
can't accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say
that we're powerless in the face of such carnage' he said, referring
to the four other mass shootings that have taken place since Mr Obama
In the hours that followed Friday's tragedy, a number of public figures spoke out in favor of greater gun control legislation.
'The country needs [Obama] to send a bill to Congress to fix this problem,' said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a statement after the Newtown attack.
'Calling for “meaningful action” is not enough. We need immediate action,' he said. 'We have heard all the rhetoric before. What we have not seen is leadership – not from the White House and not from Congress.'
Shocked: The President was close to tears on Friday when he first spoke in the aftermath of the tragedy
Former Astronaut Mark Kelly, husband
of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who was shot in Tucson last year, called on
lawmakers and the president to 'stand up and do what is right.'
time our response must consist of more than regret, sorrow, and
condolence,' he said in a statement on Facebook. 'This can no longer
The president was seen as loathe to
revive a public gun debate ahead of the 2012 election campaign, because
it was seen as such a divisive issue. But
during the second presidential debate in October he said that he is
ready to take new action on gun control, including the reintroduction of
the assault weapons ban.
10-year federal ban on the sale of some semi-automatic weapons – dubbed
'assault' weapons – expired in 2004 and has not been renewed despite
several attempts. Obama had said in 2008 that he would push for renewal
in his first term, but that effort never materialized.
OBAMA'S CHANGING STANCE ON GUNS THROUGH THE YEARS
As an Illinois state senator from 1997-2004, Obama supported banning all forms of semiautomatic weapons and tighter state restrictions generally on firearms, including a failed effort to limit handgun purchases to one per month.
2005: In the U.S. Senate, Obama votes against protecting firearms makers and dealers from lawsuits over misuse of their products by others. The bill is signed into law by President George W. Bush.
2008: During his first presidential campaign, Obama supports a return to the federal ban on assault weapons, which began during the Clinton administration and expired under Bush.
He also endorses requiring background checks for buyers at gun shows. The National Rifle Association attacks him as an anti-gun zealot – a stand the group continues to take.
April 2008: Obama is criticized for elitism after sounding dismissive of gun owners in a talk to campaign donors. He said voters in struggling small towns in Middle America ‘cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them’ to explain their frustrations.
September 2008: Obama seeks to reassure gun owners: ‘I believe in people's lawful right to bear arms. … There are some common-sense gun safety laws that I believe in. But I am not going to take your guns away.’
Nonetheless, gun sales go up when Obama wins, apparently because of fear that new restrictions are imminent under his administration.
2009: As president, Obama signs legislation allowing people to carry concealed weapons in the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and other national parks and wildlife refuges and another measure that lets people carry guns in their checked bags on Amtrak trains.
2010: The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence gives Obama a grade of ‘F’ for failing to push even the gun restrictions he supported while campaigning.
2011: Obama says the shooting that severely wounded then-Rep. Gabriel Giffords and killed six people should lead to ‘a new discussion of how we can keep America safe for all our people.’
He calls for ‘sound and effective steps’ to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, including strengthening background checks on gun buyers. But he's short on specifics and no new initiative is proposed by his administration.
March 2012: Obama calls the fatal shooting of black teenager Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida ‘a tragedy,’ saying Americans should do some soul-searching and ‘examine the laws’ to figure out why it happened.
He didn't call for any legal changes in response to the case, which mostly brought attention to some states' ‘stand your ground’ laws making it easier for a shooter to claim self-defense.
Indeed, most gun regulations are imposed by states. The primary federal law is the Brady law requiring background checks on firearms purchasers.
July 2012: Obama says he's heartbroken by the Aurora, Colorado movie theater massacre and calls on the country to unite in prayer for the victims. ‘If there's anything to take away from this tragedy it's the reminder that life is very fragile, our time here is limited and it is precious.’
Asked whether the shooting should prompt a new review of gun laws, White House spokesman Jay Carney declines to comment beyond reiterating Obama's existing stance in support of ‘common-sense measures that protect Second Amendment rights of Americans, while ensuring that those who should not have guns under existing law do not get them.’
December 2012: In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school massacre, the president says he will 'use whatever power this office holds' to stop massacres like the slaughter at the school. He also hints at a fresh effort to curb the spread of guns, saying there is no 'excuse for inaction.'
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