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Obama Gun Control Coalition: President's Most Ardent Allies

Obama Gun Control Coalition: President's Most Ardent Allies
In this handout provided by The White House, U.S. President Barack Obama shoots clay targets with a shotgun on the range on August 4, 2012 at Camp David, Maryland. (Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 29 October 2014 07:18 PM

President Barack Obama has long pushed for stricter gun control laws, especially in the aftermath of the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Common ground remains difficult to find, as politicians and organizations on both sides argue about whether tougher rules infringe on a citizen's 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.

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During a Q&A earlier this year, the president promised to continue to fight for tighter legislation.

"My biggest frustration so far is the fact that this society has not been willing to take some basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who can do just unbelievable damage," Obama said on June 10. "We're the only developed country on Earth where this happens...And it's happens once a week. And it's a one-day story. ... The country has to do some soul-searching on this."

Though he faces opposition, Obama also has some strong support. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has pledged $50 million of his personal wealth this year to join in the fight. In April, Bloomberg merged his Mayors Against Illegal Guns group with the independent Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America to form Everytown for Gun Safety.

"This is the beginning of a major new campaign to reduce the gun violence that plagues communities across the country," Bloomberg in an April statement. "There is no question that more needs to be done to tackle this deadly problem, and that's why more than 1.5 million Americans, nearly 1,000 mayors and moms in all 50 states have already come together to fight for common-sense reform that will respect rights and save lives."

Armed with financial support akin to the National Rifle Association, Bloomberg's groups plan to use tactics similar to those employed by the NRA, in which they'll attempt to make public officials answer for their positions on gun-related issues, and emphasize that during elections.

In July, the organization announced plans to survey all congressional candidates for the November midterm elections, in an attempt to rival the NRA's report cards. Each candidate will be asked to fill out a 10-part questionnaire explaining their stance on issues like increased background checks and magazine limits.

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Their responses will be entered into a formula that combines past statements and incumbents' legislative votes, then used to sway voters accordingly.

"We're going to be very, very data-driven, metrics-driven, making sure that we identify the people who care about this issue," Everytown's political consultant Mitch Stewart told The Washington Post.

Obama has another ally in U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), who told The Washington Post that the May 23 deadly rampage near the University of California at Santa Barbara illuminated the need for expanded background checks for firearm sales.

"This tragedy demonstrates once again the need to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill," King said.

King, one of the GOP's most ardent gun-control advocates, also pushed Republicans to fight powerful gun rights groups, and hopes to bring legislation to strengthen mental health screening.

"Even though this issue may not be popular in particular congressional districts, if we want to be a national party, we ought to be looking closely at it," King said.

In April 2013, King and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) introduced a failed bill that would've extended background checks to include the bulk of private firearm transactions. It worked as a companion bill in the House to legislation introduced by Sens. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.) and Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.).

The Toomey-Manchin bill fell six votes short of the 60 it needed to move forward, while the King-Thompson bill awaits a House vote.

This article does not constitute legal advice. Check the current gun laws of your state and destination before travel.

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President Barack Obama has long pushed for stricter gun control laws, especially in the aftermath of the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
obama, gun control
Wednesday, 29 October 2014 07:18 PM
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