WH: New Gun Control in 2 States Reflects Capacity for Stricter Federal Laws

April 2, 2013 - 5:06 PM

WH: Added Gun Control in Colo., Conn. ‘Reflects Capacity’ for Stricter Federal Laws

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney at press briefing. (AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) – As public support for stricter gun control declines, President Barack Obama will speak in Colorado on Wednesday and in Connecticut on Monday – two states where the legislatures took recent action on stricter gun control laws in response to massacres that occurred in 2012.

“I think that reflects the capacity around the country for bipartisan action including here in Washington,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Obama travels to Denver to speak about more control measures. He will meet with local law enforcement officials and community leaders. In July 2012, a gunman murdered 12 people and injured dozens of others in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater.

Colorado’s Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law last month a bill that requires stricter background checks for private and online gun sales and a ban on ammunition magazines that shoot more than 15 rounds.

On Monday, Obama will speak in Hartford, Conn. In December, a gunman murdered 20 young children and six teachers at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

New gun-control laws in Connecticut seem inevitable as this week Democrat and Republican state legislators announced an agreement on measures to ban new high-capacity ammunition magazines, increased background checks, a new registry for existing magazines that carry 10 or more bullets, creation of what lawmakers called the nation’s first statewide dangerous weapon offender registry and an expansion of the state’s ban on automatic weapons. Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy is expected to sign the package after legislative approval.

The upcoming anti-gun events occur as the president is trying to push several initiatives through Congress that include a ban on certain automatic weapons, universal background checks, and tougher laws on gun trafficking.

Second Amendment advocates such as the National Riffle Association (NRA) oppose the measures, arguing they would infringe on constitutional freedoms.

Meanwhile, support for gun control has fallen substantially since the Newtown, Conn. school shootings, when it stood at 57 percent, according to a CBS News poll.

Support for stricter laws now stands at 47 percent, according to the CBS News poll. That’s opposed to the 39 percent who said they want to keep gun laws the same and the 11 percent that want less restrictive gun laws.

At the White House Tuesday, Carney insisted that the measures at the federal level should at least get an up-or-down vote in Congress for the memory of the victims of gun violence.

Regarding the two trips, a reporter asked Carney: “What were the common denominators that the president sees in those two states that compelled them to move the way he would like Congress pay attention to, other than the horror being in their midst? Why would they take action when the NRA has been active at the state level too, whereas Congress is very reluctant?”

Carney responded that state policy experts might be able to address why those states took action while others did not.

“You’re right that action has been taken in both states,” the president’s spokesman said. “I think the thing that connects them terribly is the tragedy that recently occurred in those states. Beyond that, I think others might have a better assessment about why bipartisan action has happened in those states. But I think that reflects the capacity around the country for bipartisan action including here in Washington.”

When asked in a follow-up question to what extent the president hopes that states will act by themselves “on a piecemeal basis,” Carney responded that Obama is focused on pushing nationwide laws.

“The president is focused right now on the proposals that he put forward, set of proposals, which includes pieces of legislation at the federal level and that’s what’ he’s focused on,” Carney said.

“Obviously he is – it’s important that other states address this issue as they see fit – but now we are focused on the president’s initiatives.”