Obama To Ask Congress Again To Pass Gun Control Legislation

By Reuters

Published April 08, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Multi Page

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.

Some of Obama’s gun control proposals - reinstating a U.S. ban on assault weapons and cracking down on high-capacity ammunition clips - already appear to have little chance of passing the Democratic-led Senate, let alone the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Obama is hoping to salvage the proposal for background checks on all gun buyers to try to ensure that criminals and others prohibited from buying firearms cannot get them. There are not yet enough votes in the Senate for expanded background checks as Democrats seek Republican votes.

White House spokesman Jay Carney held out hope.

“We are working with those on Capitol Hill who are working towards solutions to the legislative priorities the president laid out. Closing the loopholes in our background check system is a major priority,” Carney told reporters.

Obama’s speech at the University of Hartford is set for 5:45 p.m. EDT (2145 GMT).

Around a dozen Republican senators led by Rand Paul of Kentucky have threatened to use procedural tactics to try to prevent any votes on the gun measures, a move backed by the 300,000-member Gun Owners of America group.

Last week, Obama gave a speech in Denver trying to rally support for gun control, touting a new state law in Colorado - scene of two of the deadliest gun massacres in American history - as “a model of what’s possible.”

The president’s speech on Monday will be followed up by a White House event on Tuesday with Vice President Joe Biden and law enforcement officials. Biden also is due to speak about gun control on Thursday on the MSNBC cable TV network.

First lady Michelle Obama is set to address gun control during a visit on Wednesday to Chicago, which has faced a spree of gun violence.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.