Philip Rucker
January 11, 2013

The White House on Friday strongly denied reports that the administration is shying away from pursuing a ban on so-called assault weapons because it would be too difficult to push through Congress.

A White House spokesman, Matt Lehrich, insisted that President Obama will pursue a ban on military-style assault weapons despite what is expected to be fierce opposition from the National Rifle Association and its allies on Capitol Hill.

The New York Times reported Friday that the White House had calculated that an assault weapons ban would be exceedingly difficult to pass. The newspaper pointed to Thursday’s remarks by Vice President Biden, who is leading the administration’s task force on gun violence. Biden spoke publicly for 15 minutes and mentioned several proposals that could become part of the administration’s legislative agenda — including a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines and universal background checks — but did not mention the assault weapons ban.

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