President Barack Obama is set to make a fresh plea on Monday for a reluctant Congress to pass new gun control legislation - one of his top domestic policy priorities - as he travels to Connecticut, where December’s school massacre took place.
Initial momentum for tougher U.S. gun control laws sought by Obama after the Dec. 14 shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, has stalled in Congress in the face of fierce lobbying by gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association.
Obama, who speaks at the University of Hartford later on Monday, is hoping to build support among lawmakers for several gun control measures, including universal background checks for gun buyers. The Senate is expected to take up gun control legislation as early as this week.
The president has invited 11 parents of children killed in Newtown to fly back to Washington with him aboard Air Force One after his speech. The parents are set to lobby Congress this week for gun control measures, although it may be too late to rescue major legislation sought by Obama.
The president had vowed to use all the powers of his office to reduce gun violence after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults on Dec. 14 at an elementary school in Newtown.
No major gun legislation has passed the U.S. Congress since 1994.
“The policy window is either really close to closed, or closed entirely,” said John Hudak, an expert at the Brookings Institution think tank. “In honesty, this is really a last-ditch effort by the White House,” Hudak added.