Obama in final push for gun control legislation

Tuesday 09 April 2013 23.31
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Barack Obama made an impassioned plea on gun control legislation
Barack Obama made an impassioned plea on gun control legislation
Mr Obama addressed an audience in Hartford, which included relatives of the Newtown massacre
Mr Obama addressed an audience in Hartford, which included relatives of the Newtown massacre
Mr Obama hugs an audience member after speaking at the University of Hartford
Mr Obama hugs an audience member after speaking at the University of Hartford

US President Barack Obama has urged Americans to pile pressure on Congress to approve new gun control legislation.

Mr Obama took his gun control argument to the University of Hartford, an hour's drive from the town of Newtown where 20 children and six adults were shot dead in December.

His voice rising with emotion he shouted: "We need a vote."

Initial momentum for tougher US gun control laws sought by Mr Obama has stalled in Congress.

The proposals have faced fierce lobbying by the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups.

No major gun legislation has passed the US Congress since 1994 and the current White House guns push is in trouble.

Mr Obama said his three priorities in gun legislation - strengthening background checks for gun purchasers, banning military-style assault weapons and limiting ammunition clips to ten rounds - deserve a vote in Congress.

Only the background checks portion of his proposal is still seen as possible, and even this is in doubt as Democratic senators fail to find Republican partners to help them approve it.

Mr Obama's tone grew fiery as he pushed back against the idea that what happens to gun violence legislation in Congress will either be a political victory or defeat for him.

"Connecticut, this is not about me," he said. "This is not about politics.

"This is about doing the right thing for all the families who are here that have been torn apart by gun violence."

Mr Obama also pounced on the possibility that Republicans would try to use a blocking manoeuvre known as the filibuster to halt gun control proposals.

"Some back in Washington are already floating the idea that they might use political stunts to prevent votes on any of these reforms," said Mr Obama. "We need a vote."