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President puts forth proposal for gun law reform

OW Staff | 1/16/2013, 5 p.m.

President Obama on Wednesday formally proposed new gun-control policies and initiated 23 separate executive actions aimed at curbing gun violence. The Obama administration can implement about half of the proposals, but the rest will require congressional approval.

Obama called on Congress to swiftly pass legislation to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines for civilian use and to require universal background checks for all gun buyers.

Obama's proposals include mental health and school safety measures, as well as a tough new crackdown on gun trafficking.

Obama issued the call for the assault ban as part of a broad response to the Newtown shooting.

"Congress should restore the ban on military-style assault weapons and a 10-round limit for magazines," the president said. Obama was referring to a 10-year ban that expired in 2004, which limited the capacity of magazines and restricted military-style features on semiautomatic rifles. The president's plan can be read in its entirety at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/wh_now_is_the_time_fu....

Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) threw his support behind the proposals presented by President Obama on addressing the level of gun violence in America.

"The tragedy of Sandy Hook Elementary that killed 20 children and six adults has fundamentally changed us and the American people demand action," said Takano. "I was pleased to see the proposals put forward by the president this afternoon, as they show a strong commitment towards reducing gun violence, while still respecting personal liberties.

"By proposing universal background checks, the regulation of military style weapons, increasing funding for mental health services, local law enforcement and school resource officers, the president delivered a multifaceted approach that aims to uphold our fundamental obligation to protect our children. I look forward to the legislation being presented in Congress and hope for an honest debate about ways to curb gun violence. This time is different, and action must be taken swiftly," said Takano.

But, the specter of a potential ban in the wake of mass shootings around the country has prompted gun enthusiasts to stock up on the weapons that may some day be denied to them.

Gun stocks rose Wednesday, even as President Obama called on Congress to pass the assault weapon ban.
The stock prices for Smith & Wesson Holding Co. and Sturm, Ruger & Co. rose about 4 percent. The stock for Sturm, Ruger has risen 13 percent in the month since the shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school that left 20 children and six educators dead.

Retailers that specialize in guns have also done well. The stock price for Cabela's surged 6 percent on Wednesday and has gained 20 percent over the last month. Dick's Sporting Goods notched up slightly, and has gained 6 percent over the month.

"Consumers are flocking to stores to purchase certain types of firearms, including assault rifles, in fears of some type of ban going forward," said Rommel Dionisio, gun industry analyst for Wedbush Securities. "It's people rushing to buy them before they're banned."

Dick's said last month that it has suspended sales of assault rifles.