With Congress due to return to Washington on Monday after a two-week break, Obama has been scheduling high-profile events on gun legislation to push lawmakers and sustain a drive for action more than three months after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Last week, he called for legislation while flanked by 21 mothers who lost children to gun violence. “I haven’t forgotten those kids,” he declared then.
The Senate could begin debating gun control legislation next week.
On Monday, Obama was visiting Hartford, Conn., where state lawmakers have announced a bipartisan agreement on gun legislation in response to Newtown.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said the efforts by Colorado and Connecticut “represent important progress on these issues and are useful models to look at as we undertake efforts in Washington.”
He said the White House was working with members of Congress and staff from both parties on how to find the necessary votes for passage.
Obama’s visit showcased a state with a long centrist tradition that prizes its Western frontier heritage. But an influx of young coastal transplants and growing Hispanic voter clout have helped Democrats win a string of victories in the state. Even before the Sandy Hook massacre energized gun control proponents, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper said he was open to new gun control measures.
Colorado Republicans fought the new legislation, contending that Democrats overreached and will be punished by voters in November. Democrats contend that the measures are generally popular, especially among the suburban women who decide Colorado elections.
Several county sheriffs have vowed not to enforce the new gun restrictions. More than a dozen of them gathered a mile from Obama’s appearance Wednesday to slam the new regulations as ineffective and unconstitutional.