* Proposals to be presented later this week
* Mix of legislative, executive action
* Says "responsible" gun owners have nothing to worry about
By Jeff Mason and Matt Spetalnick
WASHINGTON, Jan 14 President Barack Obama said
on Monday he would review a set of "common sense steps" to
reduce gun violence proposed by Vice President Joe Biden and
announce a plan this week to pursue legislation and measures he
could implement on his own.
Though the proposals have not been made public, a rough
outline of what the president hopes to pursue is clear. Obama
reiterated that he would support reinstating a ban on assault
weapons, stricter controls on high-capacity ammunition clips,
and stronger background checks.
Biden delivered his recommendations to Obama after a series
of meetings with representatives from the weapons and
entertainment industry as part of a task force requested by the
president after the Dec. 14 school shooting in Newtown,
Connecticut, in which 20 children and six adults were killed.
Obama, who has said the day of the shooting was the worst of
his presidency, said earlier on Monday he would study the
panel's ideas and then move forward "vigorously" on those that
he endorsed, including some actions he could take without
"I'm confident that there are some steps that we can take
that don't require legislation and that are within my authority
as president," Obama said. "And where you get a step that has
the opportunity to reduce the possibility of gun violence, then
I want to go ahead and take it."
Biden originally had said he expected to submit his ideas to
Obama by Tuesday, so their White House meeting on Monday
indicated an even more accelerated schedule than the already
hurried pace the vice president's team has followed to date.
A White House official said the president would present his
"plan for moving forward" later in the week, but declined to
pinpoint a day.
The president suggested that changes to how data on guns
used by criminals is gathered and tracked could be made through
an administrative action.
APPEAL TO CONSCIENCE
Obama acknowledged that some of the legislative proposals
could have trouble getting through Congress, but he appealed to
lawmakers to listen to their conscience once the legislative
"Members of Congress, I think, are going to have to have a
debate and examine their own conscience," he said.
"If in fact - and I believe this is true - everybody across
party lines was as deeply moved ... as I was by what happened in
Newtown, then we're going to have to vote based on what we think
is best. We're going to have to come up with answers that set
There is opposition in both major parties to restricting the
access and availability of guns, although Republicans, who
control the House of Representatives, traditionally are seen as
being more resistant to such efforts.
Obama, a Democrat who won re-election in November, said gun
enthusiasts would be hard-pressed to say his administration had
infringed on their constitutional right to bear arms, and he
said gun control opponents were responsible for stoking concerns
that had led to long lines at gun stores.
His remarks appeared to be a swipe at the powerful National
Rifle Association gun lobby, which met with Biden on Thursday
and then complained that the White House was trying to limit
constitutionally protected gun rights.
"Those who oppose any common sense gun control or gun safety
measures have a pretty effective way of ginning up fear on the
part of gun owners that somehow the federal government's about
to take all your guns away," he said.
"Those of us who look at this problem have repeatedly said
that responsible gun owners, people who have a gun for
protection, for hunting, for sportsmanship, they don't have
anything to worry about."