Jennifer Epstein at Politico reports:
President Obama “strongly” supports the renewal of the assault weapons ban and would back new gun legislation, the White House said Tuesday, as the president spoke to a pro-gun senator who has shifted his position since Friday’s mass shooting in Connecticut.
“He is actively supportive of, for example, Sen. [Dianne] Feinstein’s stated intent to revive a piece of legislation that would reinstate the assault weapons ban,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said during his daily briefing. On Monday, Carney would only say that the president supports the return of the ban and did not weigh in on the bill Feinstein said she plans to introduce on the first day of the new Senate.
Carney also offered some other gun laws Obama would back. “He supports and would support legislation that addresses the problem of the so-called gun show loophole, and there are other elements of gun legislation that he could support … high capacity ammunition clips, for example. That is certainly something he would be interested in looking at,” he said.
Obama “is heartened … by what we have all heard from some members of Congress who have been longtime opponents of gun control measures,” Carney said, and spoke to Sen. Joe Manchin earlier Tuesday. Carney didn’t share more about Obama’s call with Manchin, but the West Virginia Democrat is a longtime NRA member who has since Friday come out in support of tougher gun laws.
UPDATE: Manchin released a statement confirming the call but not revealing anything new about Obama’s plans on guns.
The President called me this afternoon. We agree that as Americans and parents, all of our children belong to all of us – and we must work together to keep our precious children safe.
I believe that we must have a dialogue and bring parties from all sides to the table. I know my friends at the NRA and those who support our Second Amendment rights will participate because I know that their hearts are aching for the families in Newtown, just like all Americans.
To have a productive dialogue, we also need to address a number of critical issues, including our mental health system, safety in our schools and a media and entertainment culture that glorifies unspeakable violence.
What I have learned since coming to Washington is that there are some who will vilify you for being open to a conversation with anyone you might not agree with. That’s wrong – as Americans, we all need to sit down and have a serious, adult conversation about the best actions to move forward. The deaths of these children demand that each and every one of us in Washington and the United States be willing to talk with each other.