WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama endorsed controversial bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines yesterday, as well as stricter background checks for gun buyers -- but conceded he may not win approval of all in a Congress reluctant to tighten restrictions.
"Will all of them get through this Congress? I don't know," Obama said. He said lawmakers would have to "examine their own conscience" as they tackle gun control legislation after the horrifying Connecticut school shootings but in the face of opposition from the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun groups.
Obama spoke at a midday White House news conference one month after the Newtown elementary school rampage, which ignited a national discussion on preventing mass shootings.
The president said he would unveil a comprehensive road map for curbing gun violence within days. His plan will be based on recommendations from Vice President Joe Biden's gun task force, and is expected to include legislative proposals and steps Obama can implement using his presidential powers.
But the most sweeping and contentious elements -- including an assault weapons ban -- will require approval from a Congress that has been loath to tackle gun control legislation for more than a decade. The politically powerful NRA has vowed to fight any measure that would limit access to guns and ammunition, a hard-line position that could sway some Republicans and conservative Democrats.
Despite the opposition, Obama said he would "vigorously pursue" measures to tighten gun laws. "My starting point is not to worry about the politics," he said.
The president's new resolve follows a lack of movement in tackling gun violence throughout much of his first term, despite several high-profile shootings. He called the Dec. 14 massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School the worst day of his presidency, and vowed to take action.