WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS 5 / KCBS / AP) — Braced for a fight, President Barack Obama on Wednesday unveiled the most sweeping proposals for curbing gun violence in two decades, pressing a reluctant Congress to pass universal background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.
A CBS 5 poll of Bay Area residents – taken shortly after the president released his plan – showed significant support for background checks (76%), an assault weapons ban (71%), and ammunition limits (67%).
RELATED CONTENT: Download the complete CBS 5 poll results data (.pdf)
U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) was also quick to embrace Obama’s plan – although Republican House Speaker John Boehner was non-committal to the president’s package and signaled no urgency to act on the legislative proposals.
“Congress must do its part, without further delay, to strengthen background checks and take the most dangerous weapons and assault magazines out of the hands of those in greatest danger of doing harm to themselves and to others,” Pelosi said in a statement to CBS San Francisco. “For the families of the victims of Sandy Hook, of every massacre and every incident of gun violence, there is simply no time to waste.”
A month after that horrific massacre, Obama also used his presidential powers to enact 23 measures that don’t require the backing of lawmakers. The president’s executive actions include ordering federal agencies to make more data available for background checks, appointing a director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and directing the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence.
But the president, speaking at White House ceremony, focused his attention on the divided Congress, saying only lawmakers could enact the most effective measures for preventing more mass shootings.
“To make a real and lasting difference, Congress must act,” Obama said. “And Congress must act soon.”
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee was heading to Washington for the U.S. Conference of Mayors as he parsed through Obama’s executive order, and said that he would have to answer several questions like if San Francisco has the resources to do extensive background checks on all gun buyers and whether police can get armor-piercing bullets off the streets.