Nightly News   |  April 07, 2013

Senate prepares for gun debate

President Obama returns to Connecticut on Monday as the U.S. Senator prepares to begin debate on gun control legislation this week, NBC’s Peter Alexander reports.

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>>> over guns heats up again this week as president obama presses his case for more restrictive gun laws . today both sides weighed in on the debate. we have more tonight from nbc's peter alexander at the white house .

>> reporter: returning to connecticut monday not far from the newtown community that's come to symbolize the demand for stiffer gun laws , president obama now faces new urgency as senators could start doe baebating the issue including universal background checks within days.

>> we're going to try to get the strongest bill we can and there is no reason we can't have one. you can't get 90% of the americans to agree on the weather.

>> reporter: still the forecast for a white house victory remains unclear. leading gun advocates contend the most pivotal piece of any new legislation is background checks , specifically those that would extend beyond the roughly 55,000 federally licensed firearm dealers to cover private sales as well like those at gun shows and online. but conservative republicans led by kentucky senator rand paul have warned they'll block any proposals that they say threaten the second amendment. that strategy is frustrating many democrats.

>> please let us go to the floor. if we go to the floor i'm still hopeful that what i call the sweet spot , background checks , can succeed.

>> reporter: gun rights supporters insist the obama administration's going about it the wrong way.

>> even if you had all your universal background checks , bad guys are going to get guns and it is not going to solve the problem in the schools and it is not going to diminish the need for greater security in the schools.

>> reporter: just days after connecticut passed the nation's toughest gun laws , governor dan malloy today responded to nra's head who said the state's new restrictions wouldn't stop criminals from illegally getting guns.

>> wayne reminds me of the clowns at the circus. they get the most attention. that's what he's paid to do.

>> reporter: and other battles are looming as congress prepares to tackle imgreat lakes le immigration re form and the budget.