Carney says assault weapons ban possible

Jan. 15, 2013 at 9:17 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday he doesn't think an assault weapons ban is dead even before arrival in Congress.

During his daily press briefing, Carney was reminded by a reporter that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has expressed doubts whether a ban can make it through the Republican-controlled House and that the Senate won't pass legislation the House won't approve.

"The president has made clear that he supports and has long supported a renewal of the assault weapons ban," Carney said. "We will look to Congress to put together a legislative strategy. We'll work with them. And we will push for things that are hard because they're the right things to do. We're not going to prejudge ... "

Asked specifically if he thinks the assault weapons ban is doomed, Carney said: "I don't believe that. And I think that that doesn't mean it's a sure thing, either. If these things were easy, they would have been achieved already. If renewal of the assault weapons ban were easily accomplished, it would not need renewing because it would have happened already."

Carney went on to say President Obama is committed to pushing the package of proposals he is to unveil Wednesday.

"He is not naive about the challenges that exist, but he believes that, as he said yesterday, if even one child's life can be saved by the actions we take here in Washington, we must take those actions," he said.

Carney indicated Obama would not veto a package that doesn't include the assault weapons ban.

"The president is not saying that any single measure has to be part of" the package, he said. "I mean, I don't want to quantify the number of actions that he might put forward tomorrow, but he believes we ought to move on all of them, and he's not going to say that we have to move on this one or else we don't move on that one.

"He believes we should pass legislation that closes loopholes in our background check system. That's something that I think we've all seen has broad support across the country, among gun owners and non-gun owners, among people in red states and blue states, Democrats and Republicans. And that's something we should act on because it's very important.

"There are a host of measures that we can take that can address this problem, and he believes we should take them as a nation."

Carney said Obama's announcement would be attended by "kids who wrote letters to the president and their families" but said he had no names of lawmakers who would be attending to announce.

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