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Obama to announce gun proposals

Washington - US President Barack Obama will announce measures Wednesday to address gun violence in the wake of a massacre at a Connecticut elementary school last month.

The measures are expected to include a proposed ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and tougher background checks on gun purchasers.

United States President Barack Obama takes questions from reporters during a news conference at the White House in Washington. Credit: Reuters

The White House has said the proposals will include a mix of executive orders that Obama can institute directly and legislative measures that will require support from Congress.

Obama has considered proposals formulated by Vice President Joe Biden as part of a task force created after 20 children and six adults were shot dead at a school in December. He will make the announcement alongside Biden and schoolchildren who wrote to him expressing concerns about the violence.

Obama said in a press conference Monday that he would “vigorously pursue” action to reduce gun violence, including the possibility of an assault weapons ban.

A ban on the sale of such weapons was in place until 2004, but it expired and has not been reinstituted. Obama pledged to pursue a ban during his first election campaign, but took no action on the matter during his first term.

The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School unleashed a national debate on guns and whether tougher laws are needed.

New York state's governor on Tuesday signed the first new state gun legislation since the shooting. It expands a ban on assault weapons and large magazines, and takes steps to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill people. - Sapa-dpa

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