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Rep. Van Hollen: Public deserves an up or down vote on gun proposals

President Obama is calling congress to toughen gun laws.

President Obama is calling congress to toughen gun laws.  He announced a $500 million package of executive actions and proposals to reduce gun violence on Wednesday. Nearly six in ten Americans want stricter gun laws after the mass shooting in Newton, CT,  that killed 20 elementary school children. The package includes a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. It also calls for closing gun loopholes and more background checks.

But will it pass in the divided congress?

"Early predictions of the demise of president's proposals are very premature, says Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D -Maryland. "The politics has changed because the American public is engaged in a very different way after the Newtown shootings."

Van Hollen says," the key is that this has got to be a grassroots conversation throughout the country, it can't be a Washington focus conversation because if that happens then some of the special interest may triumph."

The NRA isn't backing down though. It released a new ad that mentions the president's children. Politico reports that it  has unleashed an army of lobbyist on capitol hill ahead of the President's speech.

"These strategies that the NRA is pursuing are going to backfire on them. They may be very popular with the base of the NRA but all the public polling I've seen shows that there are a lot of NRA members who actually support the common sense proposals the president is making."  He adds," people need to follow this debate closely and separate the scare tactics from common sense."

Ultimately, it still boils down to action. Will proposals presented by the president on Wednesday pass in the 113th congress? Congressman Van Hollen certainly hopes so.

"The public deserves an up or down vote."