Obama's Monday visit to Minneapolis on focus on gun violence

Obama's Monday visit to Minneapolis on focus on gun violence


President Barack Obama will visit Minneapolis on Monday to pitch his proposals to reduce gun violence.

The White House confirmed the trip Tuesday. On Wednesday, it was confirmed he would focus on the Washington-centered gun proposals, including a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Obama appears to have one state in mind as a potential model for curbing gun violence and address gun control.

While in Minneapolis, the White House says Obama will meet with local leaders and law enforcement officials. The president's exact itinerary is unknown, but of the places he may visit on Monday, the Accent Signage Systems office seems an obvious choice. That's where six people were gunned down, including the owner, Reuven Rahamim.

Rahamim's daughter, Maya, was in the front row at the first gun violence hearing in Washington on Wednesday. She was invited by Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, both of whom acknowledged the tricky politics at play. 

"I come from a hunting state," Klobuchar said in the hearing. "The last thing I want to hurt is my uncle, Dick, in his deer stand."

Minnesota has already played a significant part in shaping the national discussion. Just last week, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek and Minneapolis Police Chief Jane Harteau joined Obama to discuss guns and background checks.

On Wednesday, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said he is making a commitment to find out who sells guns and ammunition to police departments in an effort to work toward what he calls "common sense" gun control before the Minneapolis City Council.

"I feel, and I certainly think you know, we've been asked by the people of Minneapolis to make this a safer city," Rybak said. "We've taken a lot of steps to do that. I don't believe the taxpayers of Minneapolis would like their dollars to be sent to companies that are fighting with us on that."

The city of Minneapolis has spent $800,000 on guns and ammunition in the last few years, and Rybak said that gives the city power to get tough with gun manufacturers who don't meet the city's standards of safety.

Rybak said the idea came from a recent summit with Midwest leaders, mayors and law enforcement officers about ways to reduce gun violence.

At the state Capitol, Rep. John Lesch plans to announce legislation on Thursday that will make it harder for the mentally ill to obtain weapons.

"There are too many loopholes in the law that we're going to be closing," he said.

The poster child for that bill is Christian Oberender, who shot his mother to death 14 years ago and was committed to the state's psychiatric hospital; however, last year, he was able to legally purchase 13 guns, including an AK-47. His record is one of 168,000 so-called "suspense files," which are incomplete.

Stanek has been at the forefront of a group of Minnesota sheriffs pushing stronger background checks in the state.

Obama hasn't visited Minnesota since June, when he toured a Honeywell International plan to talk up programs to connect veterans with jobs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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