Following the tragic events of Friday, which saw 26 people, of which 20 were children, gunned down in a shooting spree at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., US President Barack Obama, who said that “meaningful action” needed to be taken on gun control, will be looking to reinstate a ban on assault weapons.
The announcement came as White House spokesman Jay Carney said that the president was keen to reintroduce the assault-weapon ban that had lapsed in 2004. Carney added that the president was also eyeing possible bans on high-capacity ammunition as well as gun-show loopholes.
Carney also stated that the president was "actively supportive" of a proposed bill by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to ban assault weapons, which she said will be presented to Congress in January. Carney said, “He is actively supportive of, for example, Senator Feinstein's stated intent to revive a piece of legislation that would reinstate the assault-weapons ban."
This announcement came as the president visited the town of Newtown on Sunday, meeting with the bereaved families and with local authorities. Monday saw the first funerals for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, with 6-year-olds Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto were laid to rest. Today, schools in the Newtown district were reopened, with students getting back to school although Sandy Hook itself remains closed as it has been designated a crime scene, still under investigation.
Of course in the wake of the shootings, the recurring issue of gun control has picked up again and there is active speculation as to what action will be taken. President Obama’s desire to reinstate the assault-weapon bill and backing Feinstein’s initiative echoes his stance while on the campaign trail, in which, during a presidential debate with rival Mitt Romney, he said, "I also share your belief that weapons that were designed for soldiers in war theatres don't belong on our streets. And so what I'm trying to do is to get a broader conversation about how do we reduce the violence generally. Part of it is seeing if we can get an assault-weapons ban reintroduced."
Feinstein and Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy were the first to voice a need to ban assault weapons, and this has been seconded by Republicans as well, with Sen. Joe Manchin (R-W.Va) also calling for action, saying, “It's time to move beyond rhetoric.”