(WASHINGTON) — The Obama Administration says despite Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s decision to exclude the assault weapons ban from comprehensive gun control for lack of votes, the president still supports it and urges the Senate to vote publicly on the proposal to eliminate “military-style weapons” from American streets as an amendment.
Speaking in Monday’s White House Briefing, Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, “it will be a question for all 100 members of the Senate to ask themselves about whether or not they think that voting for and supporting an assault weapons ban would actually do something to reduce gun violence in communities all across the country. So, we’re — going to have that — we’re going to have that debate.”
Earnest also made clear that despite National Rifle Association fears, President Obama does not support a National Registry of legal gun owners.
“That is not something that the president has supported,” said Earnest.
He said the White House has no intention of taking away guns from law-abiding citizens.
”What we want to make sure is that we’re keeping guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, but without interfering with the ability of law-abiding citizens to get their guns that they would like to buy,” Earnest said.
Obama does support background checks, but asked if those could be carried out without a national list of all those owning weapons in the United States, Earnest said, “He’s not seeking a registry.”
Over the weekend, Republican strategist Karl Rove insinuated otherwise on ABC’s This Week. Rove told George Stephanopoulos “if there’s one thing that scares a lot of people who believe in the Second Amendment, is the federal government keeping a national registry of gun sales, and gun purchasers, and gun owners.”
The Senate is expected to debate and vote on extending background checks to gun dealers and private sales when it returns from Easter recess.
The NRA opposes the measure, with Wayne LaPierre saying on NBC’s Meet the Press, “It slows down the law abiding and does nothing to anybody else.”
Still the White House indicated on Monday that it not only wants the Senate to vote on “universal background checks,” it wants members of the Senate and House to vote publicly on the now-dead assault weapons ban.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Laura Koran, Dan Merica and Tom LoBianco, CNN
Kelly Wallace, CNN