Obama unveils proposal for gun-law reform

NRA gears up for a fight, new ad targets the president’s children

Carolyn Kaster/AP

U.S. President Barack Obama has unveiled details of his proposed legislation for gun-law reform Wednesday, in the wake of the deadly shootings in Newtown, Conn. in December.

The proposal comes after a month of consultation after the December shooting, which left 28 dead, 20 of them children.

It contains three main planks:

  • A ban on assault weapons
  • A limit on high-capcity magazines
  • Expanded background checks for the purchase of a new weapons

The legislation also includes changes to mental health services and school safety.

The New York Times reports that Obama will introduce the legislation by next week.

“In the days ahead, I intend to use whatever weight this office holds to make them a reality,” Obama said. “If there’s even one life that can be saved, then we’ve got an obligation to try.”

Politically, there seems to be much support for changes to gun-control legislation after Newtown and other deadly public shootings in the U.S. At the Wednesday press conference, Obama was surrounded by children who had written to him after the Newtown shooting and by survivours of gun violence.

But, the pro-gun lobby already appears to be gearing up to fight. On Tuesday, the National Rifle Association released a new advertisement that targets Obama’s family. It asks: “Are the president’s kids more important than yours?” and then goes on to call Obama an “elitist hypocrite” as it asks why Obama’s daughters get an armed guard at their school, while all other children in the country do not.

This ad has drawn criticism for including references to the presidents’ children. “Most Americans agree that a president’s children should not be used as pawns in a political fight,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told Politico. “But to go so far as to make the safety of the president’s children the subject of an attack ad is repugnant and cowardly.”

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.