White House: Still committed to assault weapons ban
January 11th, 2013
11:32 AM ET
10 years ago

White House: Still committed to assault weapons ban

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama will seek passage of an assault weapons ban as part of a larger push for new gun control laws, an administration official said Friday.

Vice President Joe Biden left out the idea of such a ban when he laid out a series of potential proposals under consideration by his gun task force Thursday. Instead, he focused on a new universal background check system for gun buyers and restrictions on high capacity magazines.

The omission fueled speculation in news reports that the White House had dropped consideration of a potential assault weapons ban.

"Those reports are false," White House spokesman Matt Lehrich said. "The President has been clear that Congress should reinstate the assault weapons ban and that avoiding this issue just because it's been politically difficult in the past is not an option."

The vice president has spent the last week meeting with what the White House calls "stakeholders" in the gun control debate. In a series of face to face discussions Thursday, Biden sat down with the National Rifle Association and other gun owners groups before conferring with representatives from the film and television industry.

Administration officials note Biden's comments on Thursday were aimed at "consensus" proposals coming out of the task force meetings. An assault weapons ban would not fit that category.

In a sign the White House is prepared to move aggressively on its proposals, Biden made his public comments just before meeting with the NRA. The gun lobby expressed disappointment in its discussion with the vice president and later released a statement that accused the administration of mounting "an agenda to attack the Second Amendment."

Organizations seeking tougher gun control laws insist an assault weapons ban is critical to addressing the nation's recent rash of mass shootings. However, such a ban could be difficult in a Congress mired in gridlock.

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said it would be premature to comment on the vice president's remarks. The Biden task force is expected to deliver its recommendations to the president on Tuesday.

"Once the President makes some recommendations, we'll take a look at them," Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said.

Filed under: Gun rights • White House
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I think that stronger enforcement of current weapons laws by states and the FBI/ATF needs to be done as well. I am one of those people that don't think individuals need to have an assault weapon. If there were clubs that could secure them for individuals so that these weapons could still be filred for things like target practice, I'd be fine with that.

    If there are criminals at your house threatening you, call the cops and let them know. If there are cops threatening you for no good reason, call the press so they can get it all on video.

    January 11, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  2. Jeb

    There is NO SANE REASON for private citizens to be running around with military-style assault rifles and high capacity amo clips. These things are designed for the sole purpose of killing large numbers of people with maximum efficiency and have no other practical use.

    Instead of prioritizing public safety, our gun laws are designed to protect the profits of the gun industry and apease a handful of gun nuts who don't believe their should be any sensible regulation on guns. We have the most lax laws in the developed world and, by far, the most gun violence. This has to change.

    January 11, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  3. Jeff

    The "assault weapons" ban that was in place not to long ago was completely ineffective. The only effective part of that ban was on high capacity magazines. But, even that could be circumvented easily through purchasing pre ban magazines. The rest of the ban focused on asthetic characteristics of a weapon and nothing more, and most of those could be changed with after market parts.

    January 11, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  4. B. Fisher

    That's got to be the dumbest thing I've heard so far! Really? Secure the weapons at a gun club? And yea, call the police and let them know. Just make sure to tell them to bring body bags because by the time they get there you'll be dead!

    January 11, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  5. akcoyote

    What do Hitler, Stalin, PolPot, Chavez, Castro, Noriega and Mussolini have in common? They ALL disarmed their people and it always started with registration.

    January 11, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  6. Jferrari

    I own several "assault rifles" and they are kept in a very large fireproof safe that is bolted to the floor and walls of my basement. It took 3 people and a motorized lift to get into my house. Nobody has the access code except me, and it would take a Herculean effort for anyone to get at these firearms in an unauthorized fashion.

    I do not see why my ability to own these firearms should be compromised one bit based on the criminal actions of a tiny minority of criminals.


    January 11, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  7. jinx88

    If you cant take down the person that breaks in your house in 10 shots, you shouldnt own a freakin gun PERIOD!!!

    January 11, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  8. G

    There IS a SANE reason for private citizens to be running around with "military-style assault rifles and high capacity ammo clips." That reason is on display pretty much every day in your news. That reason is on display when gun banners use the blood of children to get their little agenda passed.

    Take guns away and reap the "rewards" because 99.9% of Americans will not only stand up, but will not comply. Enough already. BAN CRAZY people and leave guns alone. This game of taking away rights because of the actions of others is OVER HERE AND NOW.

    January 11, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  9. Bob

    If you do not like Americas gun laws, kindly move to another country. Gun owners are not going to just roll over this time. We will not take the blame for a nation of lazy parents who would rather put their kids on Prozac and happy pills then be parents.

    January 11, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  10. Skorps

    "Call the police"

    "I don't think you need"

    All the usual BS from those who think their opinions trump an individual right.

    January 11, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  11. Zack Shoemaker

    If someone goes into a public place with a lever action 22 cal. or a pump shotgun, are we going to ban those next? Nope, then if we won't ban all guns because they are deadly, then why ban one type? Because it's easier to kill with? With this logic, we should just ban all weapons period, because it easy to kill with them. It's amazing all these people who don't want guns at schools, but that's the first thing they want there when something happens. You finally tell them they can have that security, and should have the right to protect themselves, and they still want to wait for the cops, with assault rifles.

    January 11, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  12. Tampa Tim

    No one is being disarmed. That is a Fox, NRA lie.

    January 11, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  13. Caman


    If you cant take down the person that breaks in your house in 10 shots, you shouldnt own a freakin gun PERIOD!!!
    Well not everyone is a great shot and even so imagine your mother or sister being scared and having to shoot. It does not lead to accuracy. As a gun owner of many guns for hunting, sniping, target shooting and self protection I am just pleased as punch you don't make the decisions on what I own. Using those legal rights is a real pleasure.

    January 11, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  14. dr. o

    The ban on the government passing any gun law is absolute – " shall not be infringed."
    The meetings and spin control going on right now by the government officials is in itself unconstitutional.

    dr. o
    Hemlock, Mi

    January 11, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. Jim

    When you feel like saying ;

    "eh....what the heck, let them ban this gun or that gun....

    Don't forget;

    The felling of the mightiest oak begins with one swing of an axe.

    January 11, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  16. BKW

    It's possible that one reason the NRA and other similar groups and individuals are resistant to any and all gun control measures, like banning assault weapons, is a fundamental belief that "if you give them an inch, they will take a mile" kind of thinking..

    January 11, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  17. ST

    Those who are fond of assault weapons, should also be willing to go overseas and fight real enemies there. One war hasn't been wrapped up yet, and in Syria they need an helping hand.

    January 11, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  18. Jason

    I am a complete supporter of the constitution and the second amendment. To believe that law enforcement and the government will always be there to help us at any time is completely ridiculous. Any of the relatively small disasters that have happened in recent years show the need to protect yourself and your family. After Katrina law enforcement confiscated all the firearms from the good honest citizens and then the looting and crime spree began. They dont know where the criminals are and the felons dont have regestered guns. This summer I was coming home from a camping trip. I live in the foothills in the country. There was a man at the end of my 1.5 mile long private road shooting cars driving by and also shot one of my neighbors in the leg. I felt relieved that all of my neighbors are well armed and properly trained with firearms. There was a large search of the area because they believed there were more shooters at the time. The news reported they were going to send an armored swat vehicle up to our neighborhood but swat said that we were all fine since we were all trained and armed hunters. That is how it needs to work. Law enforcement and armed trained citizens working together. If I call the police from my home they are at least 30 minutes away. We all need to be armed. The good guys cant and wont always be right there for you. Dont forget that most of us are also the good guys. We shouldnt fear our neighbors, nor should we fear the criminals. If everyone knows you are armed they will leave you alone

    January 11, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  19. Mark

    How many times have you had to fend off an intruder with a firearm?

    ....that's what I thought.

    January 11, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  20. Zack Shoemaker

    My previous post doesn't even mention the fact, that the assault weapon the White House wants banned, never left the trunk of the car at Sandy Hook. It was done by pistols according to what the police found in side the school. They found the rifle in the trunk of the car he drove there. Perhaps he left it because people would have seen him walking up with it. And to add to this, the Chief Medical Examiner said that he believed the wounds were from a rifle in a press conference, which Adam's rifle never left the trunk, like I said. Who's lying, who's using this as an agenda?

    January 11, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  21. Charles

    No matter how many times, nor how loud, nor with how much emotion you cry "assault weapons ban", you will never be able to get around the facts... that gun control laws do NOTHING to curb gun crime, so you can stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes and stop trying to dilute our constitutional rights, Mr. President (and your gun grabbing congressional cronies and your army of Obamacon droids / sheeple). Columbine happened during the last assault weapons ban. Gun crime did not diminish one bit during the last assault weapons ban. Sandy Hook is located in a state with some of the most restrictive gun control measures in place, yet it happened. Chicago has already unconstitutionally stripped it's citizens of their right to protect themselves with firearms, yet it has one of the highest gun crime rates in the country, which is the exact pattern that can be found in other areas where gun control is (unconstitutionally) on the books. The President and his people, of course, know this already. They don't care.

    January 11, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. Jim

    All the old phrases fit this situation;
    "Give'm an inch, they'll take a mile"
    "Felling the mightiest oak starts with the first axe swing"


    January 11, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  23. Conservative

    You have as many rights as your government will allow you to have. You have no more control over what is going to happen than you do over the weather. Rant and rave, scream and shout, have a fit, the bans are coming for better or worse. Not soon enough if you ask the majority.

    January 11, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  24. Mark

    "There is NO SANE REASON for private citizens to be running around with military-style assault rifles and high capacity amo clips"

    Implying owners of AR & AK style firearms are running around, crazy does nothing to further any sort of
    genuine conversation.

    It certainly plays well on Piers Morgan's show, however, doesn't it.

    January 11, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  25. Charles

    How many times has one of the millions of assault weapons owners made themselves a threat to you, or for that matter, anyone you know?
    ... yeah, that's what I thought

    January 11, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
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