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Obama Calls for Pressure on Congress Over Gun Violence

Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama urged gun-control advocates to pressure U.S. lawmakers to ban sales of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips after last week’s massacre at an elementary school.

While calling most gun owners responsible, Obama said in a video posted today on Google Inc.’s YouTube website that he is seeking proposals by early next month. An online petition related to firearms violence had collected 400,000 signatures since last week, according to a White House statement.

The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, killed 20 children and six adults, leading Obama to promise to make abating gun violence a priority in his second-term agenda. The topic will be part of his State of the Union address in late January, and he is soliciting recommendations for legislative action and executive orders.

Obama, who named Vice President Joe Biden this week to lead a task force on gun violence, is calling for reinstating an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004, closing loopholes that allow gun buyers to escape background checks and restricting high-capacity ammunition clips.

“We hear you,” Obama said in the YouTube video. He said he “will do everything in my power as president to advance these efforts.”

The main weapon used by the gunman in the Dec. 14 Connecticut school shooting was a semi-automatic rifle with multiple high-capacity magazines, according to police. The gunman, Adam Lanza, who fatally shot his mother before going to the school, committed suicide.

To contact the reporter on this story: Margaret Talev in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at

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