Gun control: Listen more, Obama says

2013-01-27 21:40


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Washington - President Barack Obama urged gun control advocates to listen to views of rural Americans who use guns for hunting and said bridging a cultural divide in attitudes to gun ownership would be critical to his administration's push to curb gun violence.

"If you grew up and your dad gave you a hunting rifle when you were 10, and you went out and spent the day with him and your uncles, and that became part of your family's traditions, you can see why you'd be pretty protective of that," Obama said in an interview with The New Republic magazine published on Sunday.

Obama made gun control a top priority for his second term after 20 children and six adults were killed by a gunman at a school in Newtown, Connecticut in December.

Obama spoke with The New Republic on 16 January, the same day he announced he would put the full weight of his office behind urging Congress to approve an assault weapons ban and background checks for all gun buyers.

"Part of being able to move this forward is understanding the reality of guns in urban areas are very different from the realities of guns in rural areas," Obama said.

"So it's trying to bridge those gaps that I think is going to be part of the biggest task over the next several months...and that means that advocates of gun control have to do a little more listening than they do sometimes," he said.

Vice President Joe Biden is leading the White House effort to talk to Americans about gun control proposals and galvanise public support to pressure Congress to act.
He addressed the issue in Virginia on Friday.

Gun ownership rights are enshrined in the US Constitution and past efforts to restrict gun ownership have been blocked by gun owners, the National Rifle Association and their supporters in Congress.

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