Obama Won't Push New Gun-Control Laws; Other Measures to Reduce Violence Contemplated

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A day after President Obama vowed in a speech to leave no stone unturned in his quest to reduce gun violence, his spokesman said the president's efforts won't include any new gun-control proposals.

There are things that we can do, short of legislation and short of gun laws, as the president said, that can reduce violence in our society, White House press secretary Jay Carney said. We do need to take a broader look at what we can do to reduce violence in America. And that's not just legislative, and it's not just about gun laws.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, spoke similarly Thursday, ruling out any action on gun control this year, saying his chamber was too busy with other things.

With the schedule we have, we're not going to do anything on gun control, Mr. Reid told reporters.

In the wake of the Colorado movie-theater massacre, progressives have been urging Mr. Obama and congressional Democrats to impose new gun restrictions, and the president seemed receptive to that clamor Wednesday night in a speech to the National Urban League.

He spoke of the need for stricter background checks on gun purchases, and said he intended to work with members in both parties in Congress to reduce gun violence.

But the president's re-election campaign is also worried about turning away independent white male voters in November, which could partly explain the administration's reluctance to wage a high-profile battle in Congress for new gun laws.

Mr. Carney said the president doesn't even plan to renew a call to reinstate the federal ban on assault weapons, which he campaigned on four years ago. The ban expired in 2004. One of the weapons used in the Colorado shooting was a semi-automatic civilian version of the U.S. military's M-16 rifle.

The president supports [a ban], Mr. Carney said. He [also] recognizes there's a stalemate in Congress.

The administration supports more exhaustive background checks by the Justice Department to prevent people who are mentally unstable from purchasing firearms. But a review by the Associated Press found that 24-year-old James Holmes, the suspected killer in the Colorado shootings, passed all of his background checks before buying an assault rifle, a shotgun and two handguns. …