President Obama met with Cabinet members Monday to talk about the issue and spoke by phone Tuesday with Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat. Mr. Manchin, a longtime NRA member, said Monday that the events in Connecticut have changed his views on assault weapons.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday that Mr. Obama supports the stated intent of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, to reinstate a ban on assault weapons. Congress enacted such a ban in 1994, but it lapsed in 2004.
That legislation applied to military-style semi-automatic rifles, though groups on both sides of the issue said the criteria used to define the weapons was based more on appearance than functionality.
Mr. Carney said the president also wants a conversation about more than guns.
“While he supports, and strongly, renewal of the assault weapons ban, and strongly other measures, he wants to expand the conversation beyond those specific areas of legislation to look at other ways we can address this problem,” Mr. Carney said.
Meanwhile, two high-profile Republican governors broached the idea of allowing schoolteachers to carry guns.
“One thing I hope I don’t see is knee-jerk reaction from Washington, where they come in and think they know the answers,” said Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who suggested that the decision should be left to individual school districts, according to a local NBC affiliate. “In the state of Texas, if you go through the process, have been trained, and you are a handgun-licensed individual, you should be able to carry a gun anywhere in the state.”
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell also said the idea should be considered.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder went a different route Tuesday by vetoing a bill that would allow trained gun owners to carry concealed firearms into schools. Mr. Snyder, a Republican, on Monday asked staff to review security policies and mental health issues related to school safety.
In Virginia, Mr. McDonnell also issued an executive order Monday creating a school safety task force and directing Cabinet secretaries and all the school divisions in the state to examine previous safety audits.
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David Sherfinski covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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