Obama tells US Congress to finish the job on gun control
In his weekly radio address, released on Saturday, President Barack Obama pressured the U.S. Congress to "join me in finishing the job" on gun control by passing concrete laws.
Obama, who is currently finishing the last day of a visit to the Middle East, attempts to seize momentum on gun control legislation after a tumultuous week for the cause.
A bill that bans assault weapons authored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and supported by the president, was not included in the Democratic Senate leadership's omnibus gun control proposal.
The collection of proposals, which will start being debated next month, is overseen by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
Reid does not believe there is enough bipartisan support for an assault weapons ban on Capitol Hill. However, universal background checks, which still remain the administration's focal point of advocacy and are supported by most American voters, will be in the bill.
"The bill will include the provisions on background checks, school safety and gun trafficking reported by the Judiciary Committee," Reid said in a statement Friday.
"I hope negotiations will continue over the upcoming break to reach a bipartisan compromise on background checks, and I am hopeful that they will succeed." Reid continues to insist that in order for the bill to be effective, it must include background checks.
The president's radio address directly took on both issues.
"Today, there is still genuine disagreement among well-meaning people about what steps we should take to reduce the epidemic of gun violence in this country," Obama said. "But you, the American people, have spoken. You've made it clear that it's time to do something."
The president proceeded to urge both the Senate and House to vote on each of the proposals he has endorsed, including bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as background checks and school safety measures in a gun trafficking bill.
"These ideas shouldn't be controversial. They're common sense," Obama said. "And I urge the Senate and the House to give each of them a vote."
Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, a coalition formed in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. massacre, continues to advocate a ban on assault weapons.
The group, which held a panel discussion on gun violence last weekend in Washington D.C., says on its website, "Military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines have no place on our streets.
"Because these weapons were originally designed for combat, to kill large numbers of people in a short period of time, they are used disproportionately in mass shootings, resulting in more victims and fatalities."
The National Rifle Association is currently engaged in talks about supporting background checks with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).