The president announces that Vice President Biden will head a panel to develop new policies to combat gun violence.(Photo: Mandel Ngan, AFP/Getty Images)
President Obama appointed Vice President Biden on Wednesday to
lead an effort to develop new policies to combat gun violence. The
president set a January deadline for policy recommendations.
have a deep obligation -- all of us -- to try" and end gun violence,
Obama said at the White House. "This time, the words need to lead to
Obama added: "It won't be easy, but that can't be an excuse not to try."
said he picked Biden because of his experience in the Senate, including
a major role in the 1994 crime bill that included an assault weapons
ban that lapsed in 2004.
The president said he believes in the
Second Amendment, and he is betting that hunters and gun enthusiasts
will support common sense restrictions. "An unbalanced man should not be
able to get a military-style assault weapon," he said.
not make any specific proposals as he laid out the process his task
force will use to pursue a comprehensive strategy in the wake of
Friday's shooting at a school that killed 20 young students and six
adults in Newtown, Conn.
Changing the culture will take "a wave of Americans" from all walks of life, Obama said, "including gun owners."
recent days, the president has met with Biden and Cabinet members about
how to move forward, including the possibility of new gun control laws.
a complex problem that requires more than one solution," said White
House spokesman Jay Carney. "It calls not only for re-examining our gun
laws -- and how well we enforce them -- but also for engaging mental
health professionals, law enforcement officials, educators, parents and
communities to find those solutions."
Obama does support
congressional efforts to revive an assault weapons ban and close the
"gun show loophole" that allows people to buy weapons without background
checks, Carney said. Obama is also interested in proposals to restrict
high-capacity ammunition clips.
Carney's comments came as
Democratic members of Congress stepped up their push for gun regulations
after the mass killing in Newtown. Lawmakers have also called for more
mental health funding and addressing the impact of violent video games
and films on young minds.
At a memorial service Sunday in Newtown,
Obama said: "In the coming weeks, I will use whatever power this office
holds to engage my fellow citizens -- from law enforcement to mental
health professionals to parents and educators -- in an effort aimed at
preventing more tragedies like this. Because what choice do we have? We
can't accept events like this as routine."
In addition to Biden,
Obama has spoken in recent days with .Attorney General Eric Holder,
Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and Health and Human Services Secretary