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Obama tries to undercut NRA in gun control debate

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

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President Obama on Monday tried to undercut National Rifle Association leaders and appeal directly to their membership, claiming gun owners support the “common-sense” gun control measures he’s proposed — and urging those supporters to “keep the pressure” on Congress.

The president spoke in Minnesota, in his first campaign-style stop as part of a second-term push for new firearms laws.

On the other side of that debate, the NRA has aggressively argued against Democrats’ call for a new and stronger assault-weapons ban, a ban on high-capacity magazines and universal background checks. But in a risky move, the president used his speech Monday to try and sideline America’s most powerful gun lobby.

“The overwhelming majority of gun owners think (universal background checks are) a good idea,” Obama said, referring to recent polling that shows most gun owners support background checks at gun shows and for private sales. “So if we’ve got lobbyists in Washington claiming to speak for gun owners saying something different, we need to go to the source and reach out to people directly.

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