White House Signals Support for New Gun Control Measures

(Photo: Getty)

(Photo: Getty)

Since last Friday’s massacre at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school, President Barack Obama has used vague phrases like “meaningful action” to express his administration’s response to the slaying, while avoiding delving too far into specific plans. At a media briefing earlier today, however, White House press secretary Jay Carney listed some of the gun control measures Mr. Obama would actually support.

“He is actively supportive of, for example, Senator Feinstein’s stated intent to revive a piece of legislation that would reinstate the assault weapons ban,” Mr. Carney said. “He supports and would support legislation that addresses the problem of the so-called ‘gun show loophole,’ and there are other elements of gun legislation that he could support. People have talked about [restricting] high capacity ammunition clips, for example. That is certainly something he would be interested in looking at. My point is that it goes beyond that.”

Of course, left unsaid is how much political capital Mr. Obama is willing to spend to back this legislation. Advocates, including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have been pushing Mr. Obama to actively push these measures through Congress rather than simply await a bill to arrive on his desk. But Mr. Carney did say the wavering of some pro-gun legislators, like West Virginia’s Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, gave Mr. Obama confidence.

“He is heartened, I should mention, by what we have all heard from some members of Congress who have been longtime opponents of gun control measures, commonsense gun control measures like the assault weapons ban,” Mr. Carney added. “In fact, not long before I came out here he was on the phone with Senator Manchin discussing just this issue.”