Obama unveils gun control plans, taps Minn. US Attorney to lead ATF

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President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced his plans for curbing U.S. gun violence, including a call for a renewed ban on assault weapons.

At a press conference, Obama also announced that he was nominating Minnesota U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones for the long vacant position of director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, WCCO Radio,TPM and and the Associated Press reported.

Jones has been acting ATF director, juggling those duties with his job as U.S. Attorney in Minneapolis. Here's his bio.

The ATF has been without a permanent director for six years, dating to the Bush administration, due in part to opposition to nominees for the job by the influential gun lobby, the Washington Post reported. The nomination requires confirmation by the Senate.

Obama, as part of a $500 million package unveiled Wednesday, urged Congress to ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Obama also signed 23 executive actions that do not require congressional approval and include actions designed to improve access to data for background checks. Here's the unedited full version of the White House actions and proposals.

Obama's actions came after a number of high-profile mass shootings in recent months, including a mass killing Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that left 26 dead.

Obama's proposals for Congress face a difficult road ahead, the Wall Street Journal reports. Powerful gun lobbyists and allies in Congress have said they will not support sweeping changes in the nation's laws aimed at gun control.

Fox News reports on critics of the White House efforts.

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