President Barack Obama said Thursday he is not trying to ban handguns and would be "respectful of regional differences" as he pursues new gun control measures.
During a "fireside hangout" video chat reminiscent of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s radio "fireside chats," the president said that while he favored a ban on assault weapons, "I actually don’t think we should ban handguns," The Hill newspaper reported
"Keep in mind what we’re trying to do is come up with a package that protects Second Amendment rights but also contributes to reduce violence," he added, seeking to calm concerns among gun owners that his ultimate goal is to clamp down on the use of all firearms.
Obama acknowledged that there is a “lot of passion in these issues,” as well as divergences in opinion that exist between urban and rural areas.
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"We’ve got to be respectful of regional differences," he said.
"When it comes to assault weapons . . . my concern is, for example, in Aurora, when a young person can go into a theatre and shoot off a hundred rounds in less than a minute," Obama continued. "These are weapons of war . . . So for us to restrict some of those high-capacity magazines . . . that probably can save some lives."
"On balance," he added, "the second amendment does not automatically assume that any weapon that is available you can automatically purchase."
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