Obama to push gun control during visit Monday to Minneapolis

President Obama will take his public push for stricter gun-control measures to Minneapolis next week.

A White House official told The Hill the president will speak with local law enforcement and elected officials on efforts to stem gun crime during a Monday visit to the city.

ADVERTISEMENT
The effort is the latest as the administration looks to keep the president's gun-control proposals at the forefront of his second-term agenda, even as lawmakers take the lead on negotiating specific legislation.

Obama has called for a series of bills that would ban semi-automatic weapons with military features and high-capacity ammunition magazines. The president has also called for universal background checks on gun purchases along with expanded research into the causes of gun violence.

But with those measures facing high hurdles in Congress, Obama has sought to curry public support to pressure lawmakers to move quickly.

Obama and Vice President Biden have held a number of talks with backers of tougher gun laws and press secretary Jay Carney has said Obama may participate in campaign-style events to further drum up support.

Obama and Biden have also met with police officials from towns that have been affected by mass shootings, including chiefs from Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo. Minneapolis Chief Janeé Harteau and Hennepin County Sheriff Richard Stanek were among the law enforcement leaders who spoke with the president and vice president at the White House.

Last week, Biden traveled to Richmond, Va., where he met with officials who responded to the 2007 Virginia Tech mass shooting and discussed the need for improving mental-health care and implementing universal background checks.

The president’s push comes as Congress on Wednesday held its first hearings on gun violence. Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was gravely wounded in a shooting rampage that led to her early retirement, made a surprise appearance at a highly-charged Senate Judiciary Committee to implore Congress to act on gun legislation.

Senators also heard from National Rifle Association (NRA) Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, who cautioned that more laws would only infringe on Second Amendment rights and do little to stem further violence.

Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has said he hopes to mark up legislation by February.

Minneapolis has also been at the center of the nation's gun-crime debate. Mayor R. T. Rybak hosted a Regional Gun Summit earlier this month. And after a rise in crime, the city's leaders launched initiatives to prevent youth violence.

This story was updated at 8:59 a.m.