The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


January 26, 2013

White House working around Capitol Hill as it pushes long-reaching gun measures


Plans are also underway for Obama and Biden to appear with law enforcement officials, clergy members, hunters and military leaders who back their proposals, according to a White House aide.

Gun-control supporters said Thursday that they need moderate gun owners to be part of their coalition.

"We need responsible hunters and sportsmen to step up to this," Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., said at a news conference with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., formally unveiling a bill to ban assault weapons.

With 10 military-style weapons displayed at their side, Durbin added, "They shake their heads when they hear the gun lobby speak for them, saying things which they don't believe, which is you need a weapon like this to go out and hunt or to go to target practice. We need them to step up. We need their voices as part of this conversation."

The White House's gun-centered campaign begins in earnest on Friday, with Biden traveling to Richmond, Va. with Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and several Cabinet secretaries to hold a roundtable session focused in part on the 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech.

Obama, meanwhile, will hit the road soon and is expected to make an emotional appeal in his "State of the Union" address, scheduled for Feb. 12. The White House is considering inviting families of the children who died in last month's shooting in Newtown, Conn., to join First Lady Michelle Obama in her viewing box, according to a Democratic source close to the White House.

Gun-control advocates say Obama's proposals face serious obstacles in Congress unless he mobilizes voters, who are largely supportive of gun-control measures in national polls.

"Each of us can work as hard as we can, but unless [Obama is] out there selling it," the bill won't advance, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., said.

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