Today President Barack Obama endorsed bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, as well as stricter background checks on gun buyers, but he acknowledged that getting Congress to pass legislation will be a hard road to travel.
Obama spoke at a White House news conference Monday, a month after the Newtown, Connecticut shootings.
The president is pushing for a comprehensive strategy to curb gun violence. A reform proposal is expected within days, based on recommendations from Vice President Joe Biden's gun task force.
Some Republicans have spoken out against tougher gun restrictions, as has the National Rifle Association.
On Jan. 10, officials from the National Rifle Association released a statement following a meeting with Biden and others in the nation’s capitol.
“The National Rifle Association is made up of over 4 million moms and dads, daughters and sons, who are involved in the national conversation about how to prevent a tragedy like Newtown from ever happening again. We attended today's White House meeting to discuss how to keep our children safe and were prepared to have a meaningful conversation about school safety, mental health issues, the marketing of violence to our kids and the collapse of federal prosecutions of violent criminals,” the statement read.
“We were disappointed with how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the Second Amendment,” the statement continued. “While claiming that no policy proposals would be ‘prejudged,’ this Task Force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners -- honest, taxpaying, hardworking Americans. It is unfortunate that this Administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation's most pressing problems. We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen. Instead, we will now take our commitment and meaningful contributions to members of Congress of both parties who are interested in having an honest conversation about what works -- and what does not.”
In light of the Newtown shooting, the NRA’s president Wayne LaPierre has called for more emphasis on mental health initiatives, but his organization has stopped short of advocating for legislation that would keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.
Instead, LaPierre said in a released statement on Dec. 21 that another gun ban or law only serves to “perpetuate the dangerous notion” that Americans will be better protected.