White House planning gun control blitz

President Obama, Vice President Biden and first lady Michelle Obama will hold events next week designed to build momentum for a Senate gun control package as lawmakers return to Washington from the Easter recess.

The White House said that in addition to a previously announced trip by Obama on Monday to Connecticut, the first lady will travel to Chicago on Wednesday to rally for gun control measures.

"She will speak from her experience as a Chicagoan and a mother about the importance of providing young people with opportunities to achieve their full potential, including by allowing them to grow up in safe, violence-free communities," White House press secretary Jay Carney said Friday.

Carney also announced that Biden will appear on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Thursday for a roundtable discussion on gun safety.

"As the Senate returns from the Easter recess to begin considering such measures, the president, the vice president, and the first lady will hold events outside of Washington, D.C., and at the White House to encourage Americans to make their voices heard in this important debate," Carney said.

The administration has intensified efforts to build momentum for the gun package ahead of the planned Senate vote. Obama on Wednesday traveled to Colorado, where he met with law enforcement officials and community leaders. Families of victims of gun violence, including some who died in the Newtown, Conn., elementary shooting, also attended the White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday.

"I believe there doesn't have to be a conflict in reconciling these realities," Obama said in Denver. "There doesn't have to be a conflict between protecting our citizens and protecting our Second Amendment rights."

The Senate legislation would expand background checks on firearm purchases, create new penalties on straw purchases and include new funding for school security.

The bill will not include other aspects of the plan introduced by the president in the aftermath of the Newtown shooting, including the renewal of an assault weapons ban or limits on magazine capacity — although Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has pledged to allow a vote on those provisions as an amendment.

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