Barack Obama to present gun violence proposals
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President Barack Obama is launching the most sweeping effort to curb American gun violence in nearly two decades, and New York lawmakers easily passed the toughest gun control law in the country, as gun control advocates move to act swiftly after a massacre at an elementary school last month.
Obama is urging a reluctant Congress to ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines like those used in the Dec. 14 massacre of 20 elementary school children in Newtown, Connecticut.
The broad package Obama will announce Wednesday is also expected to include more than a dozen steps the president can take on his own through executive action. Those measures will provide a pathway for skirting opposing lawmakers, but they will be limited in scope, and in some cases, focused simply on enforcing existing laws.
But Congress would have to approve the bans on assault weapons and ammunition magazines holding more than 10 bullets, along with a requirement for universal background checks on gun buyers. Some gun control advocates worry that opposition from Republicans and conservative Democrats, as well as the National Rifle Association, will be too great to overcome.
For many Americans, gun ownership is a cherished right protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Others argue that the country's founders in the 18th century could never have envisioned the sort of high-powered assault weapons used in the Newtown attack.
White House officials, seeking to avoid setting the president up for failure, have emphasized that no single measure _ even an assault weapons ban _ would solve a scourge of gun violence across the country. But without such a ban, or other sweeping Congress-approved measures, it's unclear whether executive actions alone can make any noticeable difference.
It is a simple fact that there are limits to what can be done within existing law,'' White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday.Congress has to act on the kinds of measures we've already mentioned because the power to do that is reserved by Congress.