Obama, in Colorado, to press for gun measures

Published: .
Updated: .

President Barack Obama is traveling to Colorado on Wednesday to praise the state's newly passed gun control legislation amid signs of waning momentum in Congress for similar federal measures.

Obama has been stepping up calls for universal background checks and demanding congressional votes for a renewed ban on certain assault weapons and for limits on large-capacity ammunition magazines.

Obama will meet with law enforcement officials and community leaders in Denver, not far from the suburban movie theater shooting last summer that killed 12 people.

Last week Obama called for legislation while flanked by 21 mothers who have lost children to gun violence.

Sixteen sheriffs, including Larimer County's Justin Smith and John Cooke of Weld County, plan to hold a news conference Wednesday in Denver in response to the president's visit. They'll gather in a park near where the president will meet with law enforcement and community leaders to discuss the gun control package recently signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper.

He's trying to put pressure on a reluctant Congress to pass federal gun control legislation.

Colorado has gone further than any state outside the Northeast in passing new gun laws. The state now prohibits the sale of magazines that hold more than 15 bullets and requires background checks for all private gun sales.

On Monday, Obama plans to go to Hartford, Connecticut, where state lawmakers have announced a bipartisan agreement on gun legislation as a response to December's Newtown massacre.

Connecticut lawmakers are expected to pass a package of gun control and other measures they believe are some of the most comprehensive in the country following the Newtown school massacre.

Debate on the far-reaching legislation, negotiated by Democratic and Republican legislative leaders, is expected to begin late Wednesday morning.

It could last for hours. Both gun rights advocates and gun control supporters are expected to show up in large numbers.

Some measures in the bill would take effect immediately, including expansion of the state's assault weapons ban, background checks for all firearms sales, and a ban on the sale or purchase of ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says he'll sign the legislation into law. Family members of the shooting victims have voiced their support.