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Obama to announce gun policies Wednesday

January 15, 2013|By Kathleen Hennessey and Melanie Mason

WASHINGTON -- President Obama plans to reveal his gun policy proposals Wednesday, marking the culmination of a nearly monthlong effort by Vice President Joe Biden and the administration to identify ways to reduce gun violence.

Press Secretary Jay Carney said the president will name "concrete proposals" that will include legislative reforms, such as strengthening the background check system for guns and banning assault weapons. He also suggested that the proposals could include a series of administrative actions.

"The president will take a comprehensive approach. But it is a simple fact that there are limits to what can be done under existing law," Carney said.

Biden, who will join the president for Wednesday's announcement, told House Democrats on Monday that his working group had identified 19 areas in which the White House could use executive authority, such as directing federal agencies to compile gun safety data.

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Major changes to the nation's gun policies must go through Congress, and efforts to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines -- both priorities of the president -- have met stiff opposition on Capitol Hill.

Carney said the White House was "not naive about the challenges" of banning assault weapons, but added, "We will push for things that are hard because they're the right thing to do."

Obama and Biden are scheduled to speak at 11:45 am EST and will be joined by children who wrote to the White House in the wake of the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Also slated to attend are representatives of gun control advocacy groups, including Mayors Against Illegal Guns, an organization co-chaired by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as well as a number of lawmakers.

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