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Gun plan a tough sell for Utah lawmakers

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"We’re going to need voices in those areas, in those congressional districts, where the tradition of gun ownership is strong, to speak up and to say this is important," the president said. "It can’t just be the usual suspects."

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker is ready to be such a voice in Utah.

At a glance

Obama takes aim at gun violence

The president outlined his legislative plan to reduce gun violence, which he acknowledged will be tough to get through a divided Congress.

Background checks » Mandate a federal background check for all gun sales, including those between individuals. Studies show as many as 40 percent of all gun sales now avoid background checks.

Assault-weapons ban » Pass a beefed-up version of the ban on manufacturing and selling military-style assault rifles that expired in 2004.

Bullets » Limit the size of ammunition magazines to 10 rounds, which was the law from 1994 to 2004, and ban the possession of armor-piercing bullets.

School safety » Use federal grants to encourage schools to hire resource officers.

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Becker attended Obama’s White House announcement, part of a contingent of mayors already in the nation’s capital for other meetings. He endorsed Obama’s approach, calling it a "sensible" way to reduce gun deaths while also respecting the constitutional right to own guns.

And, as the president urged, Becker plans to continue to engage Utah’s federal lawmakers on gun safety.

"I’m under no illusion about where they come from on these issues," he said. "But I would hope they would appreciate that things like background checks can help save lives."


Twitter: @mattcanham

Thomas Burr contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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