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Obama gun proposals

Mayor and police chief support president's measures

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  New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Chief Ronal Serpas support the proposed gun control measures unveiled last week by President Barack Obama — including a federal ban on assault weapons and universal background checks for gun sales. The background checks would apply to private and gun show sales.

  "Reducing violent crime and murder and making New Orleans safe is the most important issue facing the city of New Orleans," Landrieu said in a statement. "President Obama's proposals are a step in the right direction toward combating gun violence in our city and across America." Last Thursday, Landrieu traveled to Washington for the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual Winter Meeting, where gun violence reduction was a major topic of discussion.

  In a separate statement, released one hour after Landrieu's, Serpas echoed the mayor. "This plan announced today would ban military-style assault weapons and high capacity magazines," Serpas wrote. "These types of weapons are specifically designed to kill mass numbers of people. I don't know of any police chief in America who could object to that proposal."

  Landrieu also called on the president and Congress to increase federal funding for local police departments, saying federal funding for NOPD has been cut by 50 percent since the 1990s. The department is now under a federal consent decree, which is expected to add $55 million in increased costs over the next five years, largely from local funds. The mayor has expressed his opposition to the decree based on the price tag, as a similar consent decree for Orleans Parish Prison also is expected to strain city coffers. — Charles Maldonado

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