President Obama's push for universal background checks appears to have broad support in Congress, but not his other gun-control priorities – including an assault-weapons ban.
President Obama's gun-control proposals are getting a mixed reception on Capitol Hill, where there appears to be bipartisan support for universal background checks but little appetite for banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines – even among some Democrats.
Key Democratic leaders in the Senate have signaled that they are behind all the president's efforts, suggesting that they will get a full airing there. But meeting the 60-vote threshold to pass the president's entire agenda without a filibuster appears unlikely – and the Republican-controlled House shows no signs of taking action until the Senate passes a bill.
While national opinion polls have shown a greater openness to gun control after the Dec. 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., they also indicate that the American public is overwhelmingly supportive only of universal background checks. And without overwhelming support, it seems, Republicans and Democrats in conservative-leaning districts fear they are more likely to face a backlash for a vote in favor of gun control than against it.
“If you look at the combination of likelihood of passage and effectiveness of curbing gun crime, universal background checks is at the sweet spot,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) of New York.
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