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December 30, 2012

Obama pledges to put "full weight" behind gun measures

President Obama didn't name gun control as a top priority in his list for his second term, but pledged to put his "full weight" behind gun control measures, saying he believes after the Newtown shooting -- "the worst day of my presidency" -- that "something fundamental in America has to change."

Obama said he's supported an assault rifle ban, banning high capacity clips and background checks and that gun control is something he'd like to get done "in the first year."

He said he plans a "very specific proposal" based on recommendations that vice president Joe Biden's task force is putting together.

"This is not something that I will be putting off," he said. Obama acknowledged it wouldn't be easy -- given opposition from gun owners and the National Rifle Association -- which has said gun control measures like the 1994 assault weapons ban didn't work.

"My response is 'Something has to work," Obama said. "It is not enough for us to say, 'This is too hard, so we're not going to try.' "

He said he'd call together stakeholders and pledged to talk with "anybody." But he questioned the NRA's proposal for an armed guard at every school in the country.

"I am not going to prejudge the recommendations that are given to me," Obama said, adding, "I am skeptical that the only answer is putting more guns in schools."

And he suggested he'd keep pushing for public support for measures: "We're not going to get this done unless the American people decide it's important," he said. "This is not going to be simply a matter of me spending political capital."

He said he'd put his "full weight" behind his proposals, but that "ultimately the way this is going to happen is because the American people say, 'That's right.' "


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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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