12-19-2012, 11:04 AM
God, this place makes me frisky!
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Obama launches gun violence task force
President Obama launched an interagency task force Wednesday to develop immediate reforms to cure what he called a gun violence epidemic that is plaguing the United States.
Taking the first formal steps of his presidency to confront a series of mass shootings, including last Friday’s massacre at a Connecticut elementary school, Obama said he would act on concrete proposals in January “without delay.”
“This time, the words need to lead to action,” Obama said. He added, “We know this is a complex issue that stirs deeply held passions and political divides .. . . But the fact that this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing.”
Obama tapped Vice President Biden to head the working group assigned to come up with ways to reduce gun violence following last week’s massacre at a Connecticut elementary school.
The task force comes after Friday’s slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman armed with semiautomatic weapons killed 20 children and six educators. He had killed his mother before the school attack.
White House officials say the eventual package of proposals will likely include some new restrictions on guns, particularly assault rifles, and high-capacity magazines. But they say it will also likely involve measures that touch on mental health initiatives and, perhaps, a discussion on the depiction of violence presented in popular culture.
During his more than three decades in the Senate, Biden was a leading advocate of gun legislation, including the assault weapons ban that passed in 1994. That law expired in 2004, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and other lawmakers have said they will introduce legislation reinstating the assault weapons ban.
On Sunday night, Obama addressed the victims’ families and other Newtown residents at an interfaith vigil and vowed to use “whatever power this office holds” to enact changes that would prevent future mass shootings.
“We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change,” Obama said.