News Column

Obama to Propose Sweeping Gun-Law Changes

January 16, 2013
President Barack Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama's gun-law plan includes expanded background checks and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity clips, the White House said.

"The president has made clear that he intends to take a comprehensive approach," White House spokesman Jay Carney said ahead of Obama's Wednesday announcement of the most sweeping proposed changes to gun laws in nearly two decades.

Obama "has also made clear that there are specific legislative actions that he will continue to call on Congress to take, including the assault-weapons ban, including a measure to ban high-capacity magazine clips, including an effort to close the very big loopholes in the background-check system in our country," Carney said.

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, who developed the administration's proposals, were to unveil the package at the White House at 11:55 a.m., the White House said.

They were to be accompanied by children who wrote to Obama after last month's Sandy Hook Elementary school mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., the White House said.

The children and their parents were invited to Washington to attend the announcement.

Obama "will broadly address the steps forward that he believes we need to take as a nation to try to reduce the scourge of gun violence in this country," Carney said, without offering details.

The Wall Street Journal said Obama's proposals were expected to include actions the president could take through his executive powers, such as more aggressive prosecution of people who try to buy firearms illegally.

The Washington Post said the actions would also include enhanced federal research on gun violence and an updated U.S. database to track guns, criminals and people with mental illnesses.

A school-safety initiative was expected to include increasing federal funding for police officers at schools, the Post said.

Obama is also likely to propose ideas that haven't been widely discussed in public, the Journal said. Those include encouraging target shooters to lock up their guns at target ranges rather than take them home, where they may be more likely to fall into the wrong hands, the Journal said.

Source: Copyright United Press International 2013