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Published January 14 2013

Obama backs ban on assault weapons, sees tough fight ahead

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama endorsed controversial bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines on Monday, as well as stricter background checks for gun buyers — but conceded he may not win approval of all in a Congress reluctant to tighten restrictions.

“Will all of them get through this Congress? I don't know,” said Obama. He said lawmakers would have to “examine their own conscience” as they tackle gun control legislation after the horrifying Connecticut school shootings but in the face of opposition from the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun rights groups.

Obama spoke at a midday White House news conference one month after the Newtown elementary school rampage, which ignited a national discussion on preventing mass shootings.

The president will unveil a comprehensive roadmap for curbing gun violence within days, perhaps as early as Wednesday. His plan will be based on recommendations from Vice President Joe Biden's gun task force and is expected to include both legislative proposals and several steps Obama can implement himself using his presidential powers.

Biden identified 19 potential executive actions the president could enact on his own, said Jenny Werwa, communications director for California Rep. Jackie Speier, who joined other Democratic House members at a meeting with the vice president Monday.