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President Barack Obama proposes gun control measures

President Barack Obama says Second Amendment rights can be respected with an assault weapons ban, but congressional Republicans disagree.
by Chris Casteel Modified: January 16, 2013 at 10:23 pm •  Published: January 16, 2013

The National Rifle Association, which lobbies against gun restrictions, said Wednesday that “attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation.

“Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy.”

Oklahoma's all-GOP congressional delegation was mostly critical of the president's proposals, though Sens. Jim Inhofe, of Tulsa, and Tom Coburn, of Muskogee, commended some of the executive actions taken.

Coburn said he welcomed debate on the Senate floor about the proposals that would need congressional approval, including the assault weapons ban and the call to extend background checks to gun shows and private sales.

“However, as we debate these measures, we first must ensure our constitutional rights and individual liberties, including the Second Amendment right to bear arms, are protected,” Coburn said.

Gun control politics

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat who has expressed opposition to an assault weapons ban, said Wednesday he was “committed to ensuring that the Senate will consider legislation that addresses gun violence and other aspects of violence in our society early this year.”

Gun control, while an easy political issue for Democrats from some parts of the country, is much trickier for others. Gun control measures approved in the early 1990s, during former President Bill Clinton's first term, were factors in the defeat of Democrats across the country. It was a lesson learned. When Democrats controlled the House and Senate during the first two years of Obama's presidency, no gun control measures were proposed.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in opinions issued in 2008 and 2010, ruled that the Second Amendment grants individuals the right to own guns, though the court said some restrictions would be allowed.

The court has yet to hear any cases that would begin defining the limits on gun ownership, though actions in some states to ban assault weapons could lead to challenges.

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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