AP File Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
WASHINGTON (WIBW) -- President Obama expects Vice President Joe Biden and a task force to come up with a set of concrete proposals on gun control no later than January. The president said Wednesday he intends to push those proposals without delay. "This is a team that has a very specific task: to pull together specific reforms right now," said Mr. Obama.
The changes come in light of the recent mass shooting of 20 children and 6 adults in an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. "We may never know all the reasons why this tragedy happened," the president said. "We do know every day since, more Americans have died from gun violence."
The president cited shootings in all areas of the country, including the deaths of two Topeka police officers Sunday, CPL David Gogian and OFC Jeff Atherly.
"Two officers were killed outside a grocery store in Topeka," he said.
He also mentioned other shootings that have taken place across the county. "Since Friday morning, a police officer was gunned down in
Memphis, leaving four children without their mother. A woman
was shot and killed inside a Las Vegas casino. Three people
were shot inside an Alabama hospital. A four-year-old was
caught in a drive-by in Missouri and taken off life support just
President Obama said the goal of the task force being led by Biden is to reduce the epidemic of gun violence by looking at a few different factors, including laws, mental health, and a culture that glorifies gun violence.
Biden was tapped to lead the task force because of his work on a 1994 crime bill that helped bring down the number of violent crimes.
Despite a call to reform gun laws, the president said he is like a majority of Americans that believe the 2nd Amendment guarantees an individual a right to bear arms. He said a vast majority of gun owners in America are responsible, but pressed Congress to reinstate an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004, and said people should have to undergo stricter background checks if they seek to purchase a weapon.
The president then called for compromise, and for the nation to work together to make this happen. "It won't be easy," he said, "but that can't be an excuse not to try."
While speaking at a memorial for Sandy Hook Elementary shooting victims Sunday, the president vowed to use "whatever power this office holds" to keep the nation's children safe from other such events.
Twenty-six people, including 20 children and six adults, were killed at the elementary school in Newtown, Conn. on Friday, Dec. 14 by gunman Adam Lanza, 20. Lanza is also accused of shooting his mom before heading to the school. He took his own life after the massacre.