BARACK Obama will today unveil controversial new gun control plans - after two further shootings at colleges.
• Obama’s plans come after two further shootings at US colleges
• Congress are reluctant to explore the banning of weapons similar to that used in the Newtown massacre
• Some gun control advocates believe the National Rifle Association (NRA) will be too powerful to overcome
The president is urging a reluctant Congress to ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines like those used in the massacre of 20 schoolchildren in Newtown, Connecticut, last month.
The package follows New York politicians passing the toughest gun control laws in the country yesterday.
But it comes after two people were killed and three injured in shootings.
In Hazard, Kentucky, two people were killed and a teenage wounded in the car park of a community college.
The injured youth was being treated in hospital and police officers searched the premises to ensure no one else was at risk.
The incident happened hours after a gunman walked into a business school in St Louis, Missouri and shot an administrator in the chest.
He then shot himself, and police said both men were in surgery, but were unable to say if their wounds were life-threatening.
Police officers found students hiding under desks at the business school.
Mr Obama’s programme is expected to include more than a dozen measures the president can take on his own.
But Congress must approve the bans on assault weapons and ammunition magazines holding more than 10 bullets, along with a requirement for universal background checks on gun buyers.
Some gun control advocates worry that opposition from Republicans and conservative Democrats, as well as the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA), will be too great to overcome.
For many Americans, gun ownership is a cherished right protected by the US Constitution.
Others argue that the country’s founders in the 18th century could never have envisioned the sort of high-powered assault weapons used in the Newtown attack.
No single measure would solve gun violence
White House officials, seeking to avoid setting the president up for failure, have emphasised that no single measure - even an assault weapons ban - would solve the scourge of gun violence across the country.
But without such a ban, or other sweeping Congress-approved measures, it is unclear whether presidential actions alone can make any noticeable difference.
“It is a simple fact that there are limits to what can be done within existing law,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said yesterday.
“Congress has to act on the kinds of measures we’ve already mentioned because the power to do that is reserved by Congress.”
Mr Obama will announce his proposals at the White House, flanked by children who wrote to him about gun violence following the massacre of 20 students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
He has pledged urgent action to prevent future mass shootings, and his plan is based on recommendations from vice president Joe Biden, who led a task force on gun violence.
Mr Biden also provided suggestions for improving mental health care and addressing violent images in video games, films and on television.
States and cities have been moving against gun violence as well, led by New York, which yesterday approved a law calling for a tougher assault weapons ban and provisions to try to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill who make threats.
Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo said: “You can overpower the extremists with intelligence and with reason and with common sense.”
But the NRA said: “These gun control schemes have failed in the past and will have no impact on public safety and crime.”