Obama to take gun agenda on the road
(CNN) — President Barack Obama will take his gun violence platform on the road with a stop in Minnesota next week, a White House official told CNN.
The president will meet with locals, area officials and law enforcement in Minneapolis to discuss his proposals, which he laid out two weeks ago after Vice President Joe Biden and other administration officials held a series of meetings with stakeholders at various points on the gun control and rights spectrum.
Minneapolis has been noted for taking initiative on the gun issue, including holding a recent regional gun summit hosted by the city’s Democratic mayor, R.T. Rybak, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin Mayor Tom Barrett.
Both cities have experienced mass shootings in recent months: In September, a gunman killed at least five when he shot employees at a sign-making company, then killed himself. The Milwaukee area saw both the August shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek that left seven dead, including the gunman, and an October shooting in a suburban spa that killed at least three.
Obama met with two Minneapolis-area law enforcement officials when he sat down with local police and sheriffs on Tuesday at the White House. The meeting was attended by Minneapolis Chief Janeé Harteau and Hennepin County Sheriff Richard Stanek. Stanek has also argued for measures such as increasing restrictions to prevent mentally ill people from accessing guns.
Earlier this month, Obama unveiled a two-pronged approach to gun violence that included legislation and a set of executive actions. He called on Congress to pass an assault weapons ban, institute universal background checks on gun purchases, outlaw gun magazines that hold more than ten rounds, and confirm his nominee to lead the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives bureau.
Several members of Congress – the most high-profile being Sen. Dianne Feinstein – have introduced legislation along those lines, and the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on gun violence Wednesday.
His former campaign apparatus, re-cast as Organizing for America, has indicated its operation will advocate for Obama’s gun platform. A recent email to the group’s wide email list asked supporters to “stand with President Obama in tackling this critical issue.”
And when he unveiled his proposal, Obama called for supporters of his position to be active.
“I will put everything I’ve got into this, and so will Joe,” Obama said, standing alongside Biden. “But I tell you, the only way we can change is if the American people demand it. … This will not happen unless the American people demand it. If parents and teachers, police officers and pastors, if hunters and sportsmen, if responsible gun owners, if Americans of every background stand up and say, enough; we’ve suffered too much pain and care too much about our children to allow this to continue — then change will come.”
His gun control push on Monday comes the week after he held a campaign-style event in Nevada touting his principles for immigration reform. The White House has indicated Obama will push on both issues simultaneously, as Congress also faces the need for action on tough fiscal issues in the weeks ahead.