The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

February 4, 2013

Obama to campaign for gun proposals in Minnesota

— WASHINGTON (AP) — The fate of his gun proposals on Capitol Hill uncertain, President Barack Obama is seeking to rally support from the public and law enforcement community for his calls to ban assault weapons and install universal background checks for gun buyers.

Obama will pitch his proposals to stem gun violence Monday in Minnesota, a Democratic-leaning state where officials have been studying ways to reduce gun-related attacks and accidents for several years. His visit to the Minneapolis Police Department's Special Operations Center will mark the first time Obama has campaigned on his controversial proposals outside of Washington.

Ahead of the trip, the White House released a photo of the president skeet shooting at Camp David, the presidential retreat. Obama cited skeet shooting when asked in a recent interview whether he had ever shot a gun.

The president unveiled his sweeping package of proposals for curbing gun violence last month in response to the horrific mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school. He vowed to use the full weight of his office to fight for the proposals, many of which face tough opposition from congressional lawmakers and the powerful National Rifle Association.

The reinstatement of the assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004, is expected to be the steepest climb for Obama. Universal background checks for gun purchasers may have an easier time passing Congress, though the NRA also opposes that measure.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., has said he hopes his panel can write gun legislation this month, though it's unclear what it will contain.

The White House picked Minneapolis as the backdrop for Obama's remarks in part because of recent steps the city has taken to tackle gun violence, including a push for stricter background checks.

After a spike in violent crimes, the city launched a program in 2008 aimed at providing more resources for at-risk youth and helping rehabilitate young people who have already perpetrated crimes. In January, Minneapolis also hosted a regional summit on gun violence for elected officials from around the Midwest.

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