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Obama heads West to keep guns push alive

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President Barack Obama Wednesday said many proud gun owners backed sensible measures to stop an epidemic of firearms deaths, as he fought to keep his reform drive alive.

Obama flew west to Colorado, a state where gun rights and frontier spirit is strong, but which has also seen lawmakers push through new firearms laws following a movie theater shooting last year and the Newtown school massacre.

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In excerpts of a speech he was to give at a police academy, the president argued that there was no contradiction between his plans to protect US citizens and a constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms.

“I’ve gotten stacks of letters from proud gun owners … who tell me how deeply they cherish their rights, and don’t want them infringed upon — but they still want us to do something to stop the epidemic of gun violence.”

The president also lamented delays in Congress over passing new gun crime measures following the horror at Sandy Hook elementary school in December.

“It’s now been just over 100 days since the murder of 20 innocent children and six brave educators in Newtown, Connecticut shocked this country into doing something to protect our kids,” Obama said in the excerpts.

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“But consider this: over those 100 days or so, more than 100 times as many Americans have fallen victim to gun violence.

“Every day we wait to do something about it, even more are stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun.”

Obama scheduled his trip, and another visit to Connecticut next Monday amid fears that ambitious plans to reform firearm laws are in deep peril.

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Earlier, White House hopes of enacting a new assault weapons ban and curbs on high capacity magazine clips are now fading, so the centerpiece of Obama’s efforts is likely to be a bid to expand background checks for gun owners.

But even that fallback plan appears under threat in Congress, where Republicans as well as Obama’s Democrats face tough re-election races next year in heartland states where gun culture runs strong.

Obama’s visit to Denver Police Academy took him just a few miles from the scene of a mass shooting in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado last year in which 12 people were slain.

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One of the president’s top aides admitted Wednesday that some in Washington were getting “cold feet” on gun reform, despite national polls showing 90 percent of Americans favor stronger background checks.

“Washington tends to be a lagging indicator of public opinion,” Obama senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer said, adding that he remained confident that stronger gun legislation would emerge from the aftermath of Newtown.

“What the president wants to sign is the strongest gun bill he can sign,” Pfeiffer told a breakfast meeting hosted by the Politico news organization.

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“We have to make sure that whatever we do is better than current law. We are going to look at any compromise that comes forward.”

Some Republicans, who feel any new laws would infringe on the constitutional right to bear arms, warn they will filibuster legislation expected to be brought up in the Senate after Congress returns from a recess next week.

But it is not just Obama’s Republican foes who are standing in the way of change — some on his own side are also in a tough spot.

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Several Democratic senators, like Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Kay Hagan of North Carolina, face difficult political choices that could trap them between their president and conservative constituencies.

Lawmakers in Colorado, which Obama won on the way to re-election in November, have passed new gun laws requiring expanded background checks and limits on the size of magazines for assault weapons.

Opponents of expanding federal background checks argue that they would involve a government registry of firearms which may be unconstitutional.

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They also fear that such a scheme would make it tough for family members to hand guns down through generations, or would prove prohibitive in rural areas where people may live many miles from gun stores used to process checks.

The top gun lobby group, the National Rifle Association (NRA) argues that guns are not the problem.

An NRA task force released a report Tuesday calling for more armed guards in US schools, following the Newtown killings.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Mnuchin begs Chris Wallace: Take the president ‘very literally’ except on being ‘the chosen one’

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Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin insisted on Sunday that Americans should take President Donald Trump's hyperbolic comments "very literally" -- but he allowed for some exceptions.

During an interview on FOX News Sunday, host Chris Wallace noted that Trump had recently "ordered" companies not to do business with China.

"When the president says something, how seriously, how literally should we take it?" Wallace asked.

"I think most of the time, you should take it very literally," Mnuchin insisted. "I think sometimes he says things that are meant to be a joke."

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Hours after Donald Trump blithely admitted that he had "second thoughts" about his trade war with China that has damaged the U.S. economy and helped set the stage for a possible recession, White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham was forced to issue a clarification about the president's comments.

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"The President was asked if he had ‘any second thought on escalating the trade war with China,'" White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham relayed. "His answer has been greatly misinterpreted. President Trump responded in the affirmative - because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher."

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Here is why Trump is obsessed with Greenland

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They say that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. Remember that President Harry Truman tried to purchase Greenland in 1946; now, in 2019, President Donald Trump is trying to do the same thing.

This article first appeared in Salon.

To be clear, Trump’s farcical, “absurd” idea — to borrow the adjective used by Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen — is not happening, and was never going to happen. As Frederiksen pointed out, Greenland is “not for sale." Trump, for his part, has not backed down from the idea.

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