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23rd Ramadan 1435 | Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014
World

Executive action to check gun violence

Tuesday, 15 January 2013
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Washington, January 15:

Accusing the gun lobby of "ginning up" fears, President Barack Obama served notice that he may resort to executive orders to check gun rampant violence in the United States in the face of a powerful gun lobby opposing legislative action.

"I'm confident that there are some steps that we can take that don't require legislation and that are within my authority as president," Obama said Monday that marked one month of Newtown, Connecticut, shooting where 20 children and 6 adults were massacred.

"And where you get a step that has the opportunity to reduce the possibility of gun violence, then I want to go ahead and take it," he said at a news conference.

Responding to a question about a spike in weapons sales since the Newtown massacre, Obama said at least part of the frenzy is little more than marketing. "It's certainly good for business."

"Part of the challenge we confront is that even the slightest hint of some sensible, responsible legislation in this area fans this notion that somehow, 'Here it comes, everybody's guns are going to be taken away,'" Obama said.

Amid expectations of intense opposition by the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights groups, Obama said he would review recommendations from Vice President Joe Biden's task force on gun violence.

While the final recommendations have not been made public, Biden has said he's found widespread support for universal background checks and restrictions on the sale of high capacity magazines, which gun-control advocates believe contribute to more bloodshed at mass shootings.

Obama said he backs such measures and continues to support renewal of the Clinton-era assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.

Meanwhile, several new polls showed increased support for stricter gun laws since the Newtown tragedy.

A new Gallup poll Monday shows 38 percednt of Americans are dissatisfied with current gun laws and support stricter proposals. That is a 13 percentage point jump from a year ago.

According to a Pew Research Centre poll, 85 percent of the public backs making private gun sales and purchases at gun shows subject to background checks, with comparable support across party lines.

The poll also indicates that 80 percent favour laws to prevent mentally ill people from purchasing guns, with broad support from Democrats, Republicans and independent voters.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll found that the Newtown shooting had made 52 percent more supportive of gun control with just 5 percent saying they are now less apt to back tighter restrictions.

Most also are at least somewhat worried about a mass shooting in their own community, with concern jumping to 65 percent among those with school-age children at home.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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