Obama proposing gun limits, faces tough obstacles

3:14 AM, Jan 16, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is about to urge a reluctant Congress to ban military-style assault weapons as well as the kinds of high-capacity ammunition magazines used in last month's massacre of 20 elementary school children in Newtown, Conn.

He plans, on Wednesday, to announce a broad package that also includes efforts to stop bullying and boost availability of mental health services. It's expected to include more than a dozen steps the president can take on his own through executive action.

Those measures will be limited in scope, and in some cases, focused simply on enforcing existing laws.

Congress would have to approve the bans on assault weapons and ammunition magazines holding more than 10 bullets, along with a requirement for universal background checks on gun buyers. Opposition from the National Rifle Association, Republicans and conservative Democrats may be too much to overcome.

Meanwhile, New York has become the first state to dramatically stiffen its gun laws.

With Gov. Andrew Cuomo's signature Tuesday, parts of the measure that sped through the Legislature in two days take effect immediately.

The law calls for a tougher assault weapons ban and provisions to try to keep guns away from mentally ill people who make threats.

It also calls for background checks on ammunition, a ban on large magazines, stiffer penalties for gun crimes and background checks even on private sales, such as those at gun shows.

Mental health professionals will be required to report any patient who they believe to be a threat to use a gun illegally. The patient's gun could be confiscated.

Associated Press

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