National Rifle Association rejects Obama gun curb plans
The top US gun lobby today rejected Obama administration proposals to reduce gun violence, saying it expects to have enough support in Congress to fend off a ban on assault weapons.
President Barack Obama has pushed reducing gun violence to the top of his domestic agenda following last month’s shooting of 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut school with a legally purchased high-powered rifle.
Vice President Joe Biden leads a task force on policy proposals and has promised to send ideas to Mr Obama by Tuesday.
Mr Obama hopes to announce the next steps after he is sworn in for a second term later this month. Mr Biden’s meetings with various interest groups continued today at the White House.
The National Rifle Association and other pro-gun groups met Mr Biden yesterday and the NRA emerged with its objections to any gun restrictions intact. The group wants to have an armed security officer in every school in the country instead.
“I do not think that there’s going to be a ban on so-called assault weapons passed by the Congress,” NRA president David Keene told NBC.
Mr Keene said there is a fundamental disagreement over what would actually make a difference in curbing gun violence.
A ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines and stricter background checks on gun buyers have also been proposed.
Opposition from the well-funded, politically powerful NRA underscores the challenges that await the White House if it seeks congressional approval for limiting guns and ammunition.
Mr Obama can use his executive powers to act alone on some gun measures, but his options on the proposals opposed by the NRA are limited without Congress’ co-operation.
The NRA and many Americans consider individual gun ownership a basic right, citing the Constitution’s Second Amendment that gives citizens the right to bear arms.
Gun control advocates counter that the Second Amendment never was intended to allow ordinary citizens to wield military-style weapons like the one used in the Connecticut shooting.