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December 18, 2012

White House says Obama "actively supportive" of some gun restrictions

The White House says President Obama is "actively supportive" of Sen. Dianne Feinstein's intent to revive an assault weapons ban and supports closing the so-called gun show loophole, which allows people to buy weapons without a standard background check.

"And there are other elements of gun legislation that he could support," Press Secretary Jay Carney said -- a day after declining to address what legislation Obama might pursue in the wake of last Friday's shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.

Obama spoke today with Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat who has received NRA support, but said this week he'd be open to new measures to curb violence. Carney said Obama has been "heartened" by such statements and that they might represent "an opportunity to move forward in a constructive way."

Obama met Monday with vice president Joe Biden, senior staffers and members of his Cabinet, including Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius "to begin looking for ways" to respond to the shooting, Carney said.

Carney pledged that Obama "in coming weeks" would engage with Congress and the public "to try to find answers to this problem," which he said would include his support for an assault weapons ban.

Carney sidestepped a question of whether Obama was reassessing his own record, which a reporter noted included signing into law legislation that allows guns in national parks and on Amtrak trains as checked luggage. "It's clear that as a nation we haven't done enough to address the scourge of gun violence in this country," Carney said, calling it a "complex problem that requires more than one solution."

He said the administration believes it will require reexamining gun laws and their enforcement, as well as mental health issues.

And, he added, "While there is no one answer to this problem, it is clear that we cannot once again retreat to our separate corners and to our stale talking points, because that inevitably leads to an impasse."

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