President Barack Obama is emphasizing the need for more background checks for gun buyers in his State of the Union address, saying that overwhelming majorities of Americans favor the proposal as a way to keep firearms from criminals.
Obama said Tuesday night that senators from both parties are working on legislation to prevent people from legally buying guns and then giving them to criminals.
He said police chiefs want lawmakers to ban "weapons of war" and magazines carrying large amounts of ammunition so law enforcement officers won't be outgunned.
The president proposed all those ideas after the December killings of 20 first-graders in Connecticut. But expanded background checks is the only one he described as having vast support - a description that matches public polling and reflects congressional sentiment too.
Green ribbons dotting the lapels of Democrats and Republicans attending President Barack Obama's State of the Union address were in honor of the 26 students and educators killed at a Connecticut elementary school in December.
Vice President Joe Biden's ribbon was most visible to TV viewers as he sat on the dais immediately behind Obama. Sharing the dais with Biden was GOP House Speaker John Boehner, who wore nothing pinned to either lapel.
Obama wore a small American flag pin, no green ribbon.
Obama put Biden in charge of developing gun control proposals in response to the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The proposals before Congress include a ban on assault weapons and ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds, and background checks for all firearms purchases.