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Obama backs Feinstein gun control initiative, aides say

December 18, 2012|By Christi Parsons
  • President Obama speaks at an interfaith vigil at Newtown High School for the shooting victims from Sandy Hook Elementary School.
President Obama speaks at an interfaith vigil at Newtown High School for… (Olivier Douliery / Getty…)

President Obama supports an effort already afoot in the U.S. Senate to renew the expired ban on assault weapons, his spokesman said Tuesday.

Obama also plans to back a law to tighten the regulations governing the sale of firearms at gun shows, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in his afternoon briefing.

The declarations of support are the first specific details about how Obama intends to fight gun violence in his second term, a war he declared after the mass killing of children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School last week.

Aides to the president say he plans a broad-based approach that takes into consideration such things as mental health services, school security and violent video games and movies.

But public attention has zeroed in on the political difficulty of enacting new gun control legislation. For the first four years of his administration, Obama declined to throw himself into pushing any specific measures.

PHOTOS: Connecticut school shooting

Even on Monday -- a day after Obama promised mourners in Newtown, Conn., that he would not be deterred by politics -- his aides declined to detail any specific legislation he might support in the coming weeks and months.

Though Obama has been in favor of renewing the assault weapons ban for years, in Carney’s Monday briefing he sidestepped a question about whether the president would try to help Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in her renewed effort to reinstate the ban. Carney said he wouldn’t engage in “specific point-by-point policy proposals or prescriptions.”

On Tuesday, Obama spoke on the phone with Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), a gun rights supporter who has come out publicly since the Connecticut shootings in support of tougher gun laws.

Afterward, Carney expressed the president's support for the renewal of the assault weapons ban and closure of the gun show loophole, and said that restrictions on high-capacity ammunition clips is a step that Obama is “interested in looking at.”

The responsibility for action is a shared one, Carney said.

"It’s clear as a nation we haven’t done enough to prevent the scourge of gun violence in this country,” he said.

FULL COVERAGE: Shooting at Connecticut school

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christi.parsons@latimes.com

Twitter: @cparsons

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