President takes gun control debate back to Washington - New York News

President takes gun control debate back to Washington

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By Peter Doocy, FOX News

WASHINGTON -- President Obama has been trying to drum up support for gun control legislation, but to put pressure on Congress, he took his message on the road.

3,100 people gathered in Connecticut Monday to hear President Obama's pitch for stricter gun control.

"We have to tell Congress it's time to require a background check for anyone who wants to buy a gun," he said.

On the way back to Washington, 12 family members of victims killed in December's mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School joined the President on Air Force One.

"These are family members who are planning to be in Washington to speak with Congress about the importance of taking action to reduce gun violence," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

But gun rights advocates think keeping guns away from the mentally ill should be the President's primary focus and they argue universal background checks won't stop crime in a violent society.

"Whether it's mental health concerns, that we can do better on, or whether it is providing more safety for our children in schools, that's the crying need of our country and something we can agree upon very readily.  There is no dispute about that, but very little has been done.  And so I'm disappointed the President has not focused the debate on the right issue for America," said Asa Hutchinson of the NRA School Shield task force on "FOX News Sunday."

If Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tries to bring a gun bill to the floor next week, more than a dozen Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, are promising to block it.  But one influential Republican thinks a debate would serve everyone well.

"I do believe that to block the legislation from coming to the floor of the Senate is not appropriate.  The United States Senate should debate and vote," said Sen. John McCain.

At this point, we don't know which gun bill Sen. Reid might try to bring to the floor, but those Republicans are standing firm in their opposition until some kind of compromise can be made.

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