Obama unveils new restrictions on assault weapons, ammunition

by Justin Sink - The Hill  |  published on January 16, 2013

President Obama called Wednesday for Congress to approve new bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines in response to a string of deadly mass shootings.

At a White House event where Obama was flanked by children who had written letters of sympathy to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, the president unveiled an expansive plan that includes legislation and 23 “executive actions” the White House said could be put into place immediately.

Obama asked Congress to reinstate and strengthen the assault weapons ban and to impose a 10-round limit on ammunition magazines. He also called on Congress to require criminal background checks for all gun sales.

Congress should also approve a law against so-called “straw purchasing” of guns, and authorize new funding for gun violence research, mental health efforts, and a program that would place mental health counselors and police officers in schools. In total, the White House estimates that the president’s requests would total “in the neighborhood” of $500 million in the coming fiscal year.

The extensive proposals do not include any calls for restrictions on video games or violent films, which some have argued are a contributing factor. But it would have the Centers for Disease Control study violence in the media.

Much of Obama’s plan is expected to meet resistance on Capitol Hill — from both parties.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) suggested this week that he won’t bring an assault weapons ban to the floor.

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