Obama urges vote on assault weapons ban
March 23rd, 2013
06:00 AM ET
10 years ago

Obama urges vote on assault weapons ban

(CNN) - President Barack Obama called on the Senate to vote on a controversial ban on semiautomatic firearms modeled after military-style assault weapons, despite dim predictions from Senate leadership that such a ban will have any luck passing the upper chamber.

"These ideas shouldn't be controversial – they're common sense. They're supported by a majority of the American people. And I urge the Senate and the House to give each of them a vote," Obama said in his weekly address.

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He said there is still "genuine disagreement among well-meaning people" on how to combat gun violence. But he, added, the American people "have spoken."

On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, introduced gun legislation targeted toward curbing gun deaths. However, it did not include the so-called assault weapons ban, nor another proposal backed by the Obama administration that would place limits on magazine capacities.

The bill instead included measures that expand the background check system, boost school safety and toughen laws for gun trafficking. The Senate will begin debating the bill once it returns from recess in two weeks.

Because of fierce opposition by the National Rifle Association, Republicans and some Democrats would get fewer than 40 votes on the assault weapons ban, Reid said, far below the threshold needed to defeat a filibuster or pass the Senate.

He added that Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, the main proponent behind the ban, can propose the legislation as an amendment and therefore get a vote on the Senate floor.

Shortly after the Connecticut elementary school shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead, a majority of Americans–52%–favored major restrictions on guns. However, that number has since dropped to 43%, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released earlier this week.

Regardless, Obama said the past three months "have changed us."

"They've forced us to answer some difficult questions about what we can do – what we must do – to prevent the kinds of massacres we've seen in Newtown and Aurora and Oak Creek, as well as the everyday tragedies that happen far too often in big cities and small towns all across America," he said.

"As I’ve said before," he added, "We may not be able to prevent every act of violence in this country. But together, we have an obligation to try. We have an obligation to do what we can."

Filed under: Gun control • President Obama
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. JohnWV

    The "assault weapon" name invites banning. But "assault weapons" are defined based more on appearance than lethality. Legislating against a scary name and appearance would be ineffective and silly.

    March 23, 2013 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    That's going no where. Guns are not the problem. People are the problem. Mentally ill people, are a major problem, because Democrats do NOTHING about the mentally ill.

    March 23, 2013 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  3. Gurgyl

    Why would any one need guns???? Pass gun-ban laws.

    March 23, 2013 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  4. LOL

    Please give it a rest. All the propaganda from the extreme left has done is to increase gun ownership in America. The social statistics being manipulated to support this fanatical view doesn't hold water. The House sees this, the Senate sees this, and the American people see it as well.

    Gun and ammunition sales are through the roof and climbing. That is an indisputable fact and an indication of the amount of distrust the American people have for this elitist government.

    March 23, 2013 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  5. Jason

    "Majority of american people"

    Should have no problem passing and have massive groundswell support... unless.. its untrue.

    March 23, 2013 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  6. Ed1

    Since the so called assault weapons bill has been back more people have not been killed by these weapons and don't use the CT shooting that was pistols the so called assault weapon was found in the trunk of his car.

    March 23, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  7. Donna

    Absolutely, Democrats in the Senate and House should show their cards on gun control and vote before the election in 2014 so Republicans can clean up on all these Democrats holding seats in red states. Please, harry Reid and Obama, make my day!!! VOTE, and lose the vote, and then get booted. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

    March 23, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |