President Obama supports efforts to reinstate an assault weapons ban as part of a comprehensive plan to address gun violence, his spokesman said Tuesday.
Press secretary Jay Carney added that Obama would back proposals to close the "gun show loophole," which allows people to buy weapons without background checks.
Carney's comments came as Democratic members of Congress stepped up their push for gun regulations in the wake of Friday's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 students and six adults.
Obama met with aides and others to develop a "comprehensive" plan that would include the education, social and mental health issues associated with gun violence. He is also "interested in looking at" possible restrictions on high-capacity ammunition clips, Carney said.
The president spoke by phone Tuesday with Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a Democratic gun rights supporter who said he is rethinking his position.
Obama "wants to move in the coming weeks," Carney said.
The administration's project will likely involve Vice President Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. All have spoken with Obama.
After he spoke with Obama, Manchin said, "We must have a dialogue and bring parties from all sides to the table." That includes "my friends" at the National Rifle Association and other Second Amendment supporters, Manchin said. He added, "I know that their hearts are aching for the families in Newtown, just like all Americans."
In addition to new gun-control measures, lawmakers are discussing a number of other issues in response to the Newtown killings. They include mental health funding and addressing the impact of violent video games and films on young minds.
"It's a complex problem that requires more than one solution," Carney said. "It calls not only for re-examining our gun laws -- and how well we enforce them -- but also for engaging mental health professionals, law enforcement officials, educators, parents and communities to find those solutions."
Carney specifically cited the efforts of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who says she plans to introduce legislation early next year to reinstate the assault weapons ban that lapsed in 2004. Obama has voiced support in the past for a new assault weapons ban but did little to push the issue during his first term.
Feinstein said Tuesday that members of her staff are rewriting the old bill.
"We ban about 100 weapons by names and we also reduce the physical characteristic test to one," she said. "We grandfather existing weapons."
Feinstein said she has spoken to House and Senate Democrats as her staff drafts the new bill. She said she also wants to speak to Manchin. Reps. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., and Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., are leading House efforts on the assault weapons ban.
Feinstein said the fallout from the Newtown shooting means "this is a sea change," she said.
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