Obama urges vote in Congress on gun control measures
US President Barack Obama on Saturday urged Congress to give each of his administration's gun control proposals a fair vote after a key element of his program suffered a setback in the Senate.
"These ideas shouldn't be controversial -- they're common sense," the president said in his weekly radio and Internet address. "They're supported by a majority of the American people. And I urge the Senate and the House to give each of them a vote."
The comments came after a proposed ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines was removed from a broader gun control package in the Senate, with Democrats conceding they did not have enough votes to approve the measure.
The package was put together following last year's tragic elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 20 small children and six staff were shot dead by a gunman who then took his own life.
Other measures under consideration include a bill that would make it harder for criminals and people with severe mental illnesses to acquire weapons, as well as a measure that would punish anyone who buys guns with the purpose of reselling them to criminals.
Obama acknowledged some of his proposals faced an uphill battle. "Today there is still genuine disagreement among well-meaning people about what steps we should take to reduce the epidemic of gun violence in this country," he said.
But he insisted the American people were on his side. "You've made it clear that it's time to do something," Obama said.
He said now was the time to reduce gun violence in America and prevent the very worst violence.
"We have a unique opportunity to reaffirm our tradition of responsible gun ownership, and also do more to keep guns out of the hands of criminals or people with a severe mental illness," Obama said.