Any efforts by the president and his Democratic allies to pass gun control legislation in Congress are likely to meet strong resistance from Republicans, some Democrats with rural constituencies and, ultimately, the National Rifle Association. In declaring gun control a "central issue," Mr. Obama added one of the most divisive political debates to an agenda that already includes his ambitions to overhaul immigration law and the tax code. Mr. Obama directed Vice President Joe Biden to develop a list of potential changes to gun regulations, some of which he likely can put into place through administrative action.

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