Obama: Consensus for more checks for gun buyers

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President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, gestures as State of the Union address during a jointhe gives his session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. AP/Charles Dharapak

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is emphasizing the need for more background checks for gun buyers in his State of the Union address, saying that overwhelming majorities of Americans favor the proposal as a way to keep firearms from criminals.

Obama said Tuesday night that senators from both parties are working on legislation to prevent people from legally buying guns and then giving them to criminals.

He said police chiefs want lawmakers to ban “weapons of war” and magazines carrying large amounts of ammunition so law enforcement officers won’t be outgunned.

The president proposed all those ideas after the December killings of 20 children at a Connecticut school. But expanded background checks is the only one he described as having vast support — a description that matches public polling and reflects congressional sentiment too.

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