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Obama Appoints Biden to Oversee Newtown Policy Response

"We're going to be serious about making sure that something like Newtown never happens again,” Obama said in a press conference announcing his administration's response.

President Barack Obama has appointed the vice president to head the administration’s response to the Newtown shootings, a response Obama said Congress should take up early next year and should focus on whether to ban “military-style” assault weapons as well as high-capacity gun magazines.

The president said that while he’s ready to use the power of his office to do something to stop such tragedies from happening again, he added he would need everyone’s help in the country to get it done.

“It won’t be easy, but that’s not an excuse not to try. It’s going to take a wave of Americans ... standing up and saying ‘enough’ on behalf of our kids. It will take commitment, compromise and most of all, it will take courage. We're going to be serious about making sure that something like Newtown never happens again.”

The effort Vice President Joe Biden will head, Obama said, will not be “some Washington commission” that will simply study the issue for six months and then submit a report that will just be shelved.

Instead, he said, Biden will work closely and quickly with other members of Obama’s cabinet, as well as stakeholders in and out of Congress, to come up with a multi-pronged approach to the problem of gun violence in this country and make a recommendation, probably within a month, to “reduce the epidemic of gun violence.”

The Newtown shootings at Sandy Hook School, in which 20 children and six adults were gunned down by a 20-year-old man using an assault-style rifle, has provided a tipping point for serious political action on gun violence, Obama said.

“This time, the words have to lead to action.”

Asked whether he thought this incident, like ones in the past, would provide debate on gun control but no real action, Obama said he has faith that Americans this time want action.

“The idea that we would say this is terrible and this is a tragedy and ‘never again,’ and to not have the attention span to get this done over the next month would be terrible. And I have more faith in the American people than that."

Also asked about the NRA and its expected opposition to gun control measures, Obama said he is hoping even people in the NRA were shocked enough by the Newtown shootings to be open minded.

“Hopefully they’ll do some self-reflection.”

Ellen O'Shea December 26, 2012 at 05:01 PM
How about concentrating on helping the mentally ill instead of cutting their funding? It's easy to criticize the NRA, which seems to be the theme of the Democratic Party. Their answer, when every nut commits a crime with a gun, is to go after the NRA. An administration that sold guns to the Mexican drug cartel is not in the position to talk about legal gun owners who haven't committed a crime.
Richard Jablonski December 29, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Helping the mentally ill should be high on our list of national priorities, especially the funding to diagnose, treat and provide housing for those with mental health problems. I have done servcie for a mental eahlth non-profit, so I know what I'm speaking about.. As a result of the Newtown shootings, it appears to me that improved gun control is an important issue for most Republcans, most Democrats and most Independents. Gun control is not a partisan issue, it is needed to protect our children and the rest of us in the U.S. Few would be against the NRA if it weren't for the fact that they appear to be a de facto arm of the gun manufacturing and importing industry. NRA positions on topics such as placing an armed guard in every secondary school seem to be poorly thought out and are financially motivated. The school guard proposal would cost the federal government or the States over $50 billion per year, money much better spent on training school teachers to cope with mentally ill students and adding more school psychologists. We all ned to communicate with our elected representatives if progress is to be made on control of violent crimes in the U.S. But if you are truley concerned, you must devote your time to acting on this subject, not just complaining..

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