President Barack Obama supports Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein's legislation banning assault weapons—signed into law in 1994, it expired in 2004—and other potential gun measures, the White House revealed on Tuesday, after declining to discuss gun control specifics the day before.
"He is actively supportive of, for example, Sen. Feinstein's stated intent to revive a piece of legislation that would reinstate the assault weapons ban," White House press secretary Jay Carney said at Tuesday's briefing. "He supports and would support legislation that addresses the problem of the gun show loophole, and there are other elements of gun legislation that he could support—people have talked about high-capacity ammunition clips for example, and that is something certainly that he would be interested in looking at."
On Monday, Carney declined to offer any specifics on gun control measures Obama might support after Friday's shooting in Newtown, Conn., amid pressure from gun control advocates and others.
But Carney stressed Tuesday that the president is actively discussing how to respond to the shooting.
"The president yesterday afternoon had discussions with members of his Cabinet, members of his senior staff and the vice president to begin looking at ways for the country to move forward and respond to the tragedy in Newtown," Carney said. He confirmed that the president met with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Carney added that the president is "heartened" to hear some pro-gun-rights lawmakers are open to discussing "common-sense gun control measures like the assault weapons ban."
He said the president also spoke Tuesday with West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin—a Democrat and "A"-rated NRA member who publicly criticized assault weapons on Monday.
Carney underscored Tuesday, as he had the day before, that a substantive response to Friday's shooting requires a complex solution that includes not only gun rights, but mental health, law enforcement and other areas.
"Gun laws alone would not solve this problem," Carney said.