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Local politics

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Legislators oppose Obama’s gun ban

– Two out of three federal lawmakers representing northeast Indiana oppose President Obama’s plan to outlaw military-style assault weapons – and the third appears undecided.

Both Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., and Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, issued statements Wednesday objecting to gun-control recommendations announced earlier in the day by Obama.

During a visit to Fort Wayne, new Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., said he is taking a wait-and-see approach.

“I want to see what the legislation says” about assault weapons, Donnelly told reporters after he toured the local Raytheon plant.

He seemed open to more-extensive background checks for gun buyers.

“I don’t see how anybody could be against background checks,” Donnelly said.

But asked whether those reviews should include gun-show sales, as Obama urges, Donnelly replied, “Well, we’re going to go through all that and see what parts of legislation come up.”

Coats and Stutzman were clear about their opinions of Obama’s proposals.

The president’s administration “has a long track record of advocating policies that infringe on the liberty and freedom of the citizenry,” Stutzman said in a statement, “and, unfortunately, today’s proposals follow the same pattern.”

Coats said in a statement, “I will not support legislation or executive actions that would affect gun ownership rights for law-abiding citizens, including any assault weapons ban.”

In 1993, Coats joined a majority of senators in approving a 10-year ban on semiautomatic assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips. Obama endorsed both measures Wednesday.

Coats and Donnelly each said mental illness and widespread depictions of violence in popular culture should be part of the nation’s examination of gun violence.

bfrancisco@jg.net

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