State of the Union sets up next round of debate on gun-control legislation

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Mr. Obama has outlined an ambitious agenda to ban military-style semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, and to require universal background checks for gun purchasers, among other measures.

“There is a sense of urgency in the United States of America, through the federal government and local governments, to act,” Vice President Joseph R. Biden said Monday in Philadelphia, adding that he saw “no conflict, none, zero” between their push for action and the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms.

Gun-control advocates say that so-called “weapons of war” have no place in the hands of the general population and that requiring background checks for all gun sales would help prevent criminals and the mentally ill from obtaining firearms.

But opponents counter that a comparatively small number of crimes are committed with so-called assault weapons and that any ban on certain types of guns or magazines is a slippery slope toward the destruction of the Second Amendment.

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