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Obama Seeks Sweeping New Gun Laws

President Obama said the laws, including universal background checks and a renewed ban on assault rifles, would lead to "fewer atrocities like the one that happened in Newtown."

Alongside Vice President Joe Biden and a group of children who had written in support, President Barack Obama signed a proposal to Congress Wednesday to strengthen United States gun laws, including universal background checks, limiting the number of bullets in a clip, and renewing a ban on military-grade assault rifles.

"If America worked harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be fewer atrocities like the one that occurred in Newtown," Obama said.

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He listed some specific measures, including a 10-round limit on magazines for firearms, and asked congress to confirm Todd Jones to fill the long-dormant role of chief for the Bureau of Alchol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) — and briefly mentioned other measures, including helping schools hire more resource offices and making sure mental health professionals have the tools they need. He suggested Congress should fund research into the link between gun violence and violent video games.

The group Sandy Hook Promise applauds Obama's proposal. Do you agree? Tell us in the comments section below.

Assault rifle bans and universal background checks made up the core of his proposal.

"The type of assault rifle used in [the movie theater shooting in Aurora] has one purpose ... to pump out as many rounds as possible," he said. "Weapons designed for the theatre of war have no place in a movie theater."

The law already requires gun owners to run background checks, but federal authorities have struggled to enforce that law.

Obama said he believes Americans are ready, and that he has majority support — including 70% of the National Rifle Association, according to one poll — but that lobbyists and pundits have held laws back.

"There will be lobbyists publicly warning of a tyrannical all-out assault on liberty," he said. "Not because that's true, but because they want to generate fear, revenues or higher ratings for themselves. The only way we'll be able to change is if their audience, their constituents, their membership says this time must be different."

Last month Obama asked Biden to come up with "concrete steps" to prevent mass shootings and the broader epidemic of gun violence. Biden's task force met with some Sandy Hook parents, including those of who was one of 20 students and six educators killed at the elementary school in the Dec. 14 shooting.

Other parents of children lost in the shooting have actively petitioned the White House to act.

"We recognize that no single law or reform will prevent targeted school shootings," said the parents of 6-year-old Noah Pozner in a letter provided to the Hartford Courant. "However, by enacting a wide range of reforms, federal, state and local governments can make our children much safer in schools."

Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe, one of the first on the scene of the shooting, also asked the President to consider new legislation -- specifically, limiting access to the kind of heavy weaponry used by the shooter.

"We never like to think we're outgunned in any situation we're dealing with," he said in an interview with NBC News.

Sandy Hook parents and other Newtown community members have asked for changes in attitudes at the community level across the United States. The advocacy group Sandy Hook Promise launched a nationwide campaign Monday to enact "positive change" to prevent future shootings. While they have taken no official position on gun control — and Sandy Hook Promise representatives were not immediately available for comment on Obama's speech — members have listed policy change as one possible avenue.

“There are steps government can take. There are laws Congress can make,” said co-founder Tom Bittman Monday. "But we have to fundamentally change our approach."

Hugh Gallagher January 28, 2013 at 12:02 PM
Wilfredo once upon a time, I got a nasty email from a space alien who threatened my family with a ray gun. He was probably just a windbag and I didn't hold it against the other space aliens. . I ignored it and never even mentioned it to anyone ( til I read your post). We are all in grave danger!! Mercy indeed!!
WILFREDO G. SALCEDO, Sr. January 28, 2013 at 02:41 PM
I also feel sorry for Michelle who can't come on the Patch to tell those unsophisticated ladies that they are wrong calling her fat and ugly, that she is far from fat...She is not here to defend herself...Just like the poor NRA couldn't come down to tell me off...Don't worry, sir, there are a bunch of you who can do a much better put downs than the NRA.
WILFREDO G. SALCEDO, Sr. January 28, 2013 at 02:57 PM
The reason I put the threat up for all to see was a lady poster thought it was cowardice not to join the pro-gun control rally in D.C...This was to let her know that some windbag (your word) space alien actually came out to wish me ill-health...Freedom of speech?..For you information, there are limitations to this Freedom, just as there are limitations to the right to bear arms...No, I am not trying to feel sorry for myself because I am not afraid (a coward) of anybody...It is such weak-mindedness to portray my behavior in this manner, because I have other ways to join the protest..."Man does not live by bread alone".
Hugh Gallagher January 28, 2013 at 03:05 PM
The same alien is after both of us? He must be a Republican.
Thomas A Ceney March 30, 2013 at 02:30 AM
You Know woudn't be nice enstead of using the sad newtown thing as a sidestep, smoke and mirrors, throw things to the side,...agenda promoting, song and dance maneuver to deflect attention away from the BUDGET and the DEFICIT and things that really matter to the producers of America, (NOT his voter bace.)...... sorry I got to stop...I have to take an antacid tums.... nobody listens at all and it does me no good to try... best luck to all in coming days

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