In the United States, two ardent pro-gun senators have come up with a breakthrough in the gun control debate, which gets underway in the Senate.
But the proposal to expand and tighten up background checks on gun buyers could be the most that President Obama might expect in the way of gun reform.
Any bill that clears the Democrat-led Senate is likely to get a frosty reception in the Republican-led House of Representatives.
Democrat senator Joe Manchin and Republican Pat Toomey want to close loopholes that some analysts claim let 40 per cent of gun buyers avoid being checked.
Michelle Obama entered the gun control debate an emotional speech remembering a teenager, shot dead a week after taking part in the president’s inauguration.
“Are we truly meeting our obligations to our children?” she said. “It’s a question we should also be asking in Chicago and in every corner of this country. It was the question weighing on my heart when I met with (sic) Hadiya Pendleton’s classmates on the day of her funeral. Dozens of them later spoke at the service, each referring to her as ‘my best friend’. And let me tell you, it is hard to know what to say to a room full of teenagers who are about to bury their best friend.”
The senators say their deal is to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally disturbed.
Gun owner Michael Morawey said: “I have no problem with background checks. And I think a person who has nothing to fear, who has nothing in their background to worry about shouldn’t have to worry about background checks. You do it, it takes a couple of minutes and if it requires a two or three day wait to pick up a rifle or a pistol from a gun store, I think it’s a small price to pay to ensure that the people using guns are the ones who should be using guns.”
The proposals include exemptions though, and sales between family members and friends will not require background checks.