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Gun control group challenges Obama on clips

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence released an ad today calling on President Obama to come out more forcefully in support of a ban on the sort of high-capacity ammunition clips used by alleged shooter Jared Loughner in the January Tucson massacre.

The 30-second spot, at left, features a narrator saying that "a magazine that allows a gun to fire 32 shots in 16 seconds is only good for one thing: killing a lot of people - fast."

A man is then shown shooting at a targets featuring a variety of civilians, including a little girl; the image brings to mind the murder of 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green in Tucson.

"Assault clips - they make everyone a target," the narrator says. "Tell President Obama to ban assault clips."

The ad will run through the end of the week on national cable. The Brady Center declined to say how much it is spending on the ad buy.

Other than a vague op-ed last month, Mr. Obama has been notably silent on the gun control issue in the wake of the Tucson tragedy. He did not address the issue in his State of the Union address this year, prompting complaints from the Brady Center.

Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of New York and Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey introduced a bill in the wake of the tragedy to ban high-capacity clips. Such clips allow for 33 shots without reloading instead of about 10 in a normal clip.

The bill, which has 100 co-sponsors in the House, has yet to advance in Congress. That's in part because of a tactical Democratic retreat in recent years on gun control issuesas Democrats have looked to make and hang onto gains in traditionally-red parts of the country.

In conjunction with the ad's release, Kelly O'Brien, the fiance of slain Gabrielle Giffords staffer Gabe Zimmerman, went to Capitol Hill Tuesday to endorse the bills to ban assault clips. McCarthy and Lautenberg also planned a press conference to draw more attention to the issue.

"I'm here to tell Americans that knowing that so many people can be gunned down and killed in just a few seconds by one of these extended capacity clips is heartbreaking," O'Brien said. "I don't want to see other families go through what ours has gone through."

Also today, the Washington Post profiled Steve Croley, the White House's liaison on gun policy. The newspaper writes that his near-silence in a recent meeting "echoes the decision by Democrats to remain mute on guns as a national issue, even in the wake of the Tucson rampage."

Reports the Post: "Croley's keep-your-head-down approach is in keeping with President Obama's preference for low-key wonks, but in this case, his reticence has more to do with political reality: Democrats have no plans for serious gun-control initiatives, and the Gabrielle Giffords tragedy, as heart-rending as it was, hasn't changed their minds."