Obama Tones Down Gun Plans

In a speech in Minneapolis, the president lowers expectations for an assault weapons ban. “We don’t have to agree on everything to agree it’s time to do something.”

President Barack Obama visits Minneapolis, Minnesota, to rally support from the public and law enforcement community for his calls to ban assault weapons and install universal background checks for gun buyers, Monday, February 4, 2013. Glen Stubbe/Minneapolis Star Tribune / MCT

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama appeared to bow to broad opposition to instituting a new Assault Weapons Ban Monday in a speech on his gun control plans in Minneapolis.

Addressing a law-enforcement-heavy crowd, Obama expressed optimism that a compromise can be reached to mandate universal background checks for gun sales, but tempered expectations for a new ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines, saying he just wants to see them come up for a vote.

“We don’t have to agree on everything to agree it’s time to do something,” Obama said less than a month after he and Vice President Joe Biden announced their plans to address gun violence in the wake of the Newtown school shooting.

“We are starting to see a consensus emerge about the action Congress needs to take,” Obama said. “The vast majority of Americans — including a majority of gun owners — support requiring criminal background checks for anyone trying to buy a gun…There is no reason we can’t get that done.”

But for the assault weapons ban, public opinion is much more divided.

“We shouldn’t stop there,” Obama said, far less hopefully. “We should restore the ban on military-style assault weapons and a 10-round limit for magazines — and that deserves a vote in Congress because weapons of war have no place on our streets or in our schools or threatening our law enforcement officers.”

Republicans — and even some Democrats — have expressed opposition to the proposed ban, which is seen unlikely to pass Congress.

“If there is even one thing we can do – if there is even one life we can save – we’ve got an obligation to try,” Obama said, repeating his mantra on gun control since the Newtown shooting.

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