■ Gun-rights back­ers in Congress show will­ing­ness to weigh laws,

Gun rights back­ers in Congress will­ing to talk about laws.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE -

By Larry Mar­gasak WASHINGTON — Con­gres­sional gun rights sup­port­ers showed an in­creased will­ing­ness Tues­day to con­sider new leg­is­la­tion to con­trol firearms in the af­ter­math of the Con­necti­cut school shoot­ings — pro­vided it also ad­dresses men­tal health is­sues and the im­pact of vi­o­lent video games.

A former co-chair­man of the Con­gres­sional Sports­men’s Cau­cus, Demo­cratic Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., and 10-term House Repub­li­can Jack Kingston, a Ge­or­gia law­maker elected with strong Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion back­ing, were the lat­est to join the call to con­sider gun con­trol as part of a com­pre­hen­sive, anti-vi­o­lence ef­fort next year.

“Put guns on the ta­ble, also put video games on the ta­ble, put men­tal health on the ta­ble,” Kingston said.

But he added that noth­ing should be done im­me­di­ately, say­ing: “There is a time for mourn­ing and a time to sort it out.

“I look for­ward to sort­ing it out and get­ting past the grief stage.”

With the na­tion’s nerves still raw over the mur­ders of 20 ele­men­tary school­child­ren and six teach­ers, White House spokesman Jay Car­ney said Pres­i­dent Barack Obama was “ac­tively sup­port­ive” of a plan by Sen. Dianne Fe­in­stein, D-Calif., to in­tro­duce leg­is­la­tion to re­in­state an as­sault weapons ban.

While Obama has long sup­ported a ban, he ex­erted lit­tle ef­fort to get it passed dur­ing his first term.

Mean­while, the NRA, silent since the shoot­ings, said in a state­ment Tues­day that it “is pre­pared to of­fer mean­ing­ful con­tri­bu­tions to help make sure this never hap­pens again.”

There was no in­di­ca­tion what that might en­tail.

The group, the best­known de­fender of gun rights in Amer­ica, sched­uled a news con­fer­ence for Fri­day.

On Capi­tol Hill, Fe­in­stein is likely to be­come chair­man next year of the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, which may get the first crack at con­sid­er­ing firearms leg­is­la­tion.

Car­ney said the pres­i­dent also would sup­port leg­is­la­tion that closes a gun show “loop­hole,” which al­lows peo­ple to buy guns from pri­vate deal­ers with­out a back­ground check.

And he says Obama would be “in­ter­ested in look­ing at” leg­is­la­tion to re­strict high ca­pac­ity am­mu­ni­tion clips.

The spokesman said Obama was heart­ened by grow­ing sup­port on Capi­tol Hill for a na­tional dis­cus­sion on gun vi­o­lence, par­tic­u­larly from seem­ingly un­likely law­mak­ers.

The pres­i­dent spoke Tues­day with West Vir­ginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a con­ser­va­tive Demo­crat and hunter, who said af­ter the Con­necti­cut shoot­ings that “ev­ery­thing should be on the ta­ble.”

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