USA Today, Feb 5, 2013 p05A
Obama: 'time to do something' on gun control. (Barack Obama) (NEWS) Madhani, Aamer.
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Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2013 USA Today
Byline: Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY,
President Obama traveled on Monday to a corner of this city that has been ravaged by gun violence and called on Americans to press lawmakers to back his gun control agenda.
As he renewed his call for Congress to pass legislation to ban assault weapons and limit the size of ammunition clips -- proposals that face stiff opposition from House Republicans and some Senate Democrats -- he put special emphasis on his proposal to establish universal background checks on all weapons sales. It's a measure he believes has broad support.
"We don't have to agree on everything to agree that it's time to do something," Obama said with Minneapolis police officers and Hennepin County sheriff deputies behind him.
Obama alluded to National Rifle Association officials having said they will oppose implementing universal background checks, even though polls have shown a majority of Americans support the move. Both NRA President David Keene and NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said last week that requiring background checks on all sales would do little to stop criminals and would burden law-abiding citizens. They promised to lobby lawmakers to oppose such legislation.
"The majority of gun owners think (background checks are) a good idea," Obama said. "So if we've got lobbyists in Washington claiming to speak for gun owners saying something different, we need to go to the source and reach out to people directly. We can't allow those filters to get in the way of common sense."
The trip to the north side of Minneapolis marked Obama's first journey outside the Beltway to tout the gun control agenda he unveiled on Jan. 16, just over a month after a school shooting in Newtown, Conn., killed 26 students and faculty.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, a Democrat, and the city's police chief, Janee Harteau, have been vocal supporters of the president's agenda, and have visited the White House in recent weeks to meet with Obama and Vice President Biden on the issue.
"We just have tremendous admiration for you carrying a tough political load," Rybak told the president at the start of a roundtable meeting at the Minneapolis Police Department Special Operations Center on Monday.
The White House