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Politics

Obama 'could support' some gun restrictions

A spokesman for President Barack Obama has hinted the White House might be open to some forms of gun control in the wake of a school shooting in Connecticut. One possibility is reinstating an old ban on assault weapons.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters in Washington on Tuesday that President Barack Obama was "actively supportive" of some proposals to adjust the country's gun ownership laws.

Carney cited a move by Senator Dianne Feinstein of California to reinstate a ban on assault weapons. This legislation was introduced in September 1994 with a limited shelf life. It expired in 2004 and past attempts to renew it never reached a vote on the floor of the US Congress.

The issue has come into sharp focus since last week's deadly school shooting in Connecticut.

Carney also spoke of closing existing loopholes and of possible restrictions on high-capacity ammunition clips as ideas Obama "could support" and "would be interested in looking at."

Also on Tuesday, the powerful US gun rights group, the NRA, issued its first statement since Adam Lanza killed 26 people and himself at an elementary school in Newtown. The group said to expect a full press conference on Friday.

"The National Rifle Association of America is made up of four million shocked moms and dads, sons and daughters – and we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown," the NRA wrote. "The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again."

The NRA typically opposes regulation restricting gun ownership, and is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." The bill was adopted in 1791.

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a lifetime NRA member, has become one of the high-profile names to urge a rethink on some aspects of US gun law since the shooting at Newtown. Carney singled out such a change of opinon as something that had "heartened" President Obama.

"Not long before I came out here, [Obama] was on the phone to Senator Manchin discussing just this issue," Carney told reporters.

msh/ccp (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)