The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


April 4, 2013

Obama Cites State Gun Curbs in Pressing Federal Firearms Effort



To create the aura of momentum, Obama is highlighting states that have moved while Washington didn't.

Colorado is a state with a deep-rooted hunting tradition. It also was the site of two of the biggest mass shootings in U.S. history: the massacre at Columbine High School massacre in 1999 and another in July when a gunman opened fire at an Aurora movie theater.

The Aurora shooting, in which 12 people were killed and 58 wounded, spurred passage of the law that Gov. John Hickenlooper signed last month limiting the capacity of ammunition magazines and expanding background checks for gun sales.

"Colorado is proving a model of what's possible," Obama said in Denver. "There doesn't have to be a conflict between protecting our citizens and protecting our Second Amendment rights."

Next week, the president plans to travel to Connecticut, where the state legislature came up with a bipartisan agreement on legislation to widen a state ban on assault weapons, limit magazine capacity to 10 bullets and require background checks for all weapons sales. The ban on assault-weapon sales would take effect the moment Governor Dan Malloy signs the measure.

"This is a new and historic model for the country on an issue that has typically been the most controversial and divisive," Senate Pro Tem Donald Williams, a Brooklyn, Conn., Democrat, said just before the chamber approved the measure sending it to the House.

Lawmakers in Maryland Wednesday passed a ban on sales of assault-style weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, impose new licensing requirements on handgun buyers, and bar the mentally ill from possessing firearms.

New York in January passed a law banning high-capacity magazines and closed loopholes in a 2000 ban on assault-weapons.

Public support for stricter gun control laws remains split along party lines. Sixty percent — 83 percent of Democrats, 43 percent of gun owners, and 37 percent of Republicans — support stricter laws, according to a Morning Joe/Marist poll conducted March 25-27 with a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

While efforts by a handful of states to increase gun laws have gained national attention, most of the legislation passed since Newtown have largely strengthened gun rights, according to a report by Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

"If we are going to see broader change than just in the New York, California and Maryland-type states, it will probably take more than one legislative session," said Cutilletta.

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