Aide: Dems Backing Off Assault Weapons Ban

In this photo released by the White House, President Barack Obama shoots clay targets on the range at Camp David, Md.

Senate Democrats won't seek a military-style semiautomatic arms ban in their gun bill, an aide said, as President Obama was to push his gun plan in Minneapolis.

The Senate bill, expected to get to the Senate floor next month, would likely seek to limit the capacity of guns' ammunition magazines, a top aide to Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told The Wall Street Journal.

The bill would also seek to expand background checks to include sales at gun shows and other types of private gun sales, and require improved record keeping to make sure guns don't get in the hands of people with mental illnesses, the aide told the newspaper.

But it would not include some of Obama's most ambitious goals -- particularly his call for new bans on certain types of military-style guns commonly described as assault weapons, the Reid aide told the Journal.

Obama's goals may be unrealistic, the aide said, but added the bill, which would likely come from the Senate Judiciary Committee, could be amended to add a ban on certain semiautomatic weapons or other provisions after it reaches the floor.

Any gun measure passed by the Democratic-controlled Senate would then go to the Republican-controlled House, where its chances of success are widely seen as less certain.

Obama Monday was to visit the Minneapolis Police Department's Special Operations Center at 12:30 p.m. CST. At the center he was to meet with local leaders and law enforcement officials in the first on-the-road pitch for his plan to fight gun violence, the White House said.

The president was to deliver remarks at the center at 1:30 p.m. "on a comprehensive set of commonsense ideas to reduce gun violence," the White House said Sunday night.

The meeting was to take place 4 blocks from of where a 5-year-old boy was shot to death last summer in his home in a gang dispute.

Minneapolis police seized an average of one gun every day in the precinct that includes that neighborhood, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported.

In a statement Sunday night, the White House praised Minneapolis for taking "important steps to reduce gun violence and foster a conversation in the community about what further action is needed."

National Rifle Association Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre told "Fox News Sunday" he strongly opposed universal background checks

"I think what they'll do is they'll turn a universal check on the law-abiding to a universal registry of law-abiding people," he said.

Asked why he said this when nothing in the proposed Senate legislation would seek to create a universal registry, LaPierre said, "You cannot trust these [people]," referring to the Obama administration and lawmakers who support gun controls.

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