Obama pushes new gun laws for 2013
‘Something … has to change,’ president says Sunday on ‘Meet the Press.’
He wants measures passed during the first year of his second term limiting access to some high-capacity weapons and ammunition.
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama said Sunday that the day of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., was the worst of his presidency and that he wanted new legislation limiting access to some types of firearms passed within the first year of his second term.
“I think anybody who was up in Newtown, who talked to the parents, who talked to the families, understands that something fundamental in America has to change,” Obama said on NBC News program “Meet the Press.” “And all of us have to do some soul searching, including me as president, that we allow a situation in which 20 precious small children are getting gunned down in a classroom.”
He said that he would wait for a report from a task force chaired by Vice President Joe Biden before proposing specific legislation. But he said he had long supported a ban on assault rifles and highcapacity ammunition clips as well as expanded background checks as a way to ease gun violence in America.
The shooting in Newtown, where 20 elementary schoolchildren and six adults were killed in a matter of minutes by a man with an assault rifle, has renewed a national debate about gun control.
Obama said shortly after the shooting that gun control would be a “central issue” of his second term. Though some gun-control opponents have said they would be open to discussions about the issue, most have made clear they would oppose any legislation restricting gun ownership.
Leaders of the National Rifle Association and gun control opponents in Congress have vowed to fight efforts to impose some type of ban on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.
After the shooting, the NRA proposed placing armed security guards at schools across the country.
On Sunday, Obama said he was “skeptical” that armed guards were a realistic solution.
He said no major changes in the nation’s gun laws were possible without the strong support of the American people, but added that he believed most Americans, including gun owners, supported some type of legislation to restrict access to firearms.