Pro-gun demonstrators take part in a 'high noon' rally
outside the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix.
A White House adviser on Sunday said he was optimistic
Congress will approve at least part of President Barack Obama's
proposals to reduce gun violence in the wake of December's
massacre at a Connecticut elementary school.
Just hours before Obama was to be sworn in for his second
term in office, White House adviser David Plouffe said on
Sunday talk shows he felt there was support in Congress for
some measures, including universal background checks for gun
buyers and limits on high-capacity clips.
"I'm confident some of the measures you mentioned - clips,
universal background checks - I think there are 60 votes in
the Senate and 218 in the House, that the president would
sign," Plouffe said on ABC's "This Week," citing the vote
threshold to pass legislation in the two chambers.
"We don't expect it all to pass, or in its current form, but
we think there's elements of this that are absolutely
critical," Plouffe said.
Obama last week proposed the biggest US gun-control push in
decades, including a ban on military-type assault weapons and
mandatory background checks for all gun buyers to prevent
mass shootings like December's Newtown, Connecticut, school
massacre in which a gunman killed 20 children and six adults.
Gun advocates led by the powerful National Rifle Association
have mobilized to fight Obama's plan. With gun ownership
rights enshrined in the Second Amendment of the US
Constitution, gun restrictions have long been a divisive
Republicans on Sunday said Obama's key proposals had little
chance in Congress, and said Obama's policies would not have
prevented the Newtown shooting.
Reinstating the ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004
is widely seen as having little chance in Congress.
"Let's do things that will make a difference here, rather
than take one more opportunity to go at an old agenda,"
Missouri Senator Roy Blunt said on "Fox News Sunday".
"We had bans on things for a decade. That didn't seem to make
any difference at all, but, during that same decade, our
willingness to share information about mental problems, our
willingness to share information between security officials
and police officials, all declined," Blunt said.
Wyoming Republican Senator John Barrasso said Obama "ignored
the major issues of mental health and violence in society in
the media and video games, and he has focused so much on what
may be happening at gun shows or on gun shelves at gun stores
that I think he is failing to try to really find a solution
to the problem of the tragedy of Newtown."
Barrasso, speaking on CNN's "State of the Union," also noted
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, had
voiced doubt about prospects for reinstating a ban on assault
"I don't think Senator Harry Reid even brings it to the
Senate floor because he has six Democrats up for election in
two years in states where the president received fewer than
42 percent of the votes," Barrasso said.
"And he doesn't want his Democrats to have to choose between
their own constituents and the president's positions," he
said, highlighting the political perils of gun control
legislation for Democrats from pro-gun western and rural