The president has long supported reinstituting a ban on assault weapons, but hasn’t taken any significant effort to achieve that.
The White House on Monday said President Barack Obama would seek some stricter gun-control measures in the coming weeks to prevent mass shootings but declined to provide details of what he would propose, suggesting Mr. Obama will oversee a national conversation on gun violence that may take a while to settle, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut has raised fresh concerns about the nation’s gun and mental-health laws. Lawmakers—mostly Democrats—said they saw the shooting as a tipping point and vowed to press for new gun laws.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) said Sunday that she would introduce legislation to ban assault weapons to, as she put it, get “weapons of war off our streets.”
Some strong gun rights defenders also signaled they were willing to restricting access to guns. Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), who got an “A” grade from the National Rifle Association, said Monday it was time to “move beyond rhetoric” and “sit down and have a common-sense discussion and move in a reasonable way.”
At a vigil Sunday night for the victims of the shooting, Mr. Obama said, “I will use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens—from law enforcement to mental-health professionals to parents and educators—in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.”
Mr. Obama has previously said he wanted to prevent gun violence but hasn’t taken major action. The president has long supported reinstituting a ban on assault weapons, but hasn’t taken any significant effort to achieve that. Following a shooting in Arizona in 2011, Mr. Obama called for taking steps to prevent criminals and the mentally unstable from getting weapons.
He said the country needed to update and make more nimble the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, a federal database used to determine whether someone trying to purchase a weapon is eligible to buy one. Gun-control advocates say the system doesn’t have sufficient data on prospective buyers, particularly as it relates to mental health.