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Obama calls for January vote to curb gun violence

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Obama: I'm Betting The Majority Of Gun Owners Don't Want Weapons Of War On Our Streets

Question to Obama: "Where have you been on gun control?"

WASHINGTON--In the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting massacre, President Barack Obama on Wednesday called on Congress to consider measures to curb gun violence in January, creating a working panel--not a commission--led by Vice President Joe Biden to make recommendations.

The Second Amendment right to bear arms, Obama said, does not mean "using a gun" and "common sense" are incompatible ideas.

Speaking in the White House briefing room Obama said his panel--cabinet members and stakeholders "has a very specific task to pull together real reforms right now. I asked Joe to lead this effort in part because he wrote the 1994 crime bill that helped law enforcement bring down the rate of violent crime in this country. That plan -- that bill also included the assault weapons ban that was publicly supported at the time by former presidents, including Ronald Reagan," Obama said.

"The good news is there's already a growing consensus for us to build from. A majority of Americans support banning the sale of military-style assault weapons. A majority of Americans support banning the sale of high-capacity ammunition clips. A majority of Americans support laws requiring background checks before all gun purchases so that criminals can't take advantage of legal loopholes to buy a gun from somebody who won't take the responsibility of doing a background check at all.

"I urge the new Congress to hold votes on these measures next year in a timely manner. And considering Congress hasn't confirmed a director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in six years, the agency that works most closely with state and local law enforcement to keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals, I'd suggest that they make this a priority early in the year.

Look, like the majority of Americans, I believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. This country has a strong tradition of gun ownership that's been handed down from generation to generation. Obviously, across the country there are regional differences. There are differences between how people feel in urban areas and rural areas. And the fact is the vast majority of gun owners in America are responsible.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on December 19, 2012 11:45 AM.

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Obama gun violence, fiscal cliff press conference. Transcript is the next entry in this blog.

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