US gun lobby claims it has enough clout

2013-01-13 21:35
US President Barack Obama  (Charles Dharapak, AP)

US President Barack Obama (Charles Dharapak, AP)

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Washington - The president of the top US firearms lobby said on Sunday that his organisation has enough backing from lawmakers to defeat a plan to outlaw assault weapons and sales of high-capacity ammunition clips.

David Keene, president of the National Rifle Association, told CNN's State of the Union, such proposals will not pass, despite recent widespread outrage at the shooting deaths of 26 pupils and staff at a Connecticut school.

"Right now we do," Keene answered, when asked if the NRA has sufficient support on Capitol Hill to defeat proposals to ban assault weapons, though he said President Barack Obama seemed determined to overhaul current gun laws.

"When a president takes all of the power of the office if he is willing to expend the political capital, you don't want to make predictions, and you don't want to bet your house on the outcome.

"But I would say that the likelihood is that they are not going to be able to get an assault weapons ban through this Congress," Keene said.

US Vice President Joe Biden met a NRA representative along with other gun rights groups last week as part of a policy review that he pledged will deliver its recommendations to Obama by Tuesday.

After also meeting hunting associations, victim support groups, and mental health and law enforcement specialists, Biden said he had made no decisions on policy responses to the Newtown school massacre and other mass shootings.

Twenty six- and seven-year-old children and six adults were killed by a gunman who used an AR-15 military-style assault rifle to mow down his victims at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut on 14 December.

Biden has hinted that the White House is considering universal background checks for gun purchasers and a limit on the availability of high-capacity ammunition clips, either through new laws or executive orders issued by Obama.

Keene, however, said he believed there are enough lawmakers who support the American right to bear arms - enshrined under the second amendment of the US constitution - for the NRA to defeat a plan to ban high-capacity magazines.

"I don't think that ultimately they will get that either," Keene said of the demand from gun control supporters for a halt to the sale of such weapon clips, which were used by the Connecticut gunman, and in other recent US shootings.

Read more on:    us  |  us school shooting  |  gun control
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