The Washington Post

President Obama supports the assault weapons ban — to a point.

Dianne Feinstein Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)

Now that the Senate Judiciary Committee has passed legislation banning nearly 160 types of military-style assault weapons, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) would love to have President Obama give it a major legislative push. Judging by White House spokesman Jay Carney's comments Thursday, Feinstein shouldn't hold her breath.

When asked during his daily briefing whether Obama would be lobbying on the measure, Carney replied the president has been examining whether "we can continue to work on the bipartisan progress that we've seen on comprehensive immigration reform and on measures to reduce gun violence."

Pressed on whether Obama would urge conservative Democrats to support an assault weapons ban, his spokesman responded: "Look, the president understands that these are tough issues. If they weren't, they would have been done. If this weren't a tough issue, the assault weapons ban would not have expired and not been renewed."

"The president as a senator and since he became president has always supported restoration of the assault weapons ban, and he strongly supports the legislation that Senator Feinstein is moving forward," Carney said, adding that none of the measures the White House proposed "would take a single firearm away from a single law-abiding American citizen" and are focused on "the things that we can do to reduce gun violence in America."

All of that, of course, doesn't say much about whether Obama would lobby the likes of Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, Montana Sen. Max Baucus or Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu -- all Democrats up for reelection in 2014 -- to vote for the assault weapons ban. Which means he almost certainly won't.

Feinstein, who was in an Senate Intelligence Committee meeting Thursday afternoon, could not be reached immediately for comment.

Juliet Eilperin is The Washington Post's White House bureau chief, covering domestic and foreign policy as well as the culture of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She is the author of two books—one on sharks, and another on Congress, not to be confused with each other—and has worked for the Post since 1998.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
The Post's Philip Rucker and Robert Costa say...
For Trump, the victory here was sweet vindication, showing that his atypical campaign could prevail largely on the power of celebrity and saturation media coverage. But there was also potential for concern in Tuesday's outcome. Trump faces doubts about his discipline as a candidate and whether he can build his support beyond the levels he has shown in the polls.
The Post's John Wagner and Anne Gearan say...
Hillary Clinton, who was declared the winner of the Iowa caucuses last week by the narrowest of margins, now finds herself struggling to right her once-formidable campaign against a self-described democratic socialist whom she has accused of selling pipe dreams to his supporters.
People have every right to be angry. But they're also hungry for solutions.
Hillary Clinton, in her New Hampshire primary night speech
I am going to he the greatest jobs president that God ever created.
Donald Trump, in his New Hampshire primary victory speech
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
See live results from N.H.

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.