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After Shooting, Obama Plans Gun Task Force

Vice President Joe Biden to lead a guns issue task force, along with members of the president's cabinet. Obama calls for a response from it by January.

Just five days after the shooting at a Newtown, CT, elementary school that left 20 children and six adults dead, President Barack Obama announced the creation of a guns task force that will recommend policy change by next month.

In a broadcasted Wednesday press conference, Obama confirmed morning reports of the task force's formation and explained that the panel would not only deal with mass shootings but the “epidemic” of gun violence.

“This is a team that has a very specific task," the president said, adding that it is to put together "real reforms right now."

The task force will be led by Vice President Joe Biden, along with cabinet members and people he described as stakeholders.

Touting the vice president's planned role, Obama noted Biden's work as a U.S. Senator in backing a 1994 crime bill that included the now-expired assault weapons ban.

At the press conference, the president called for swift action, arguing that the response from the task force will not be a long study. 

Obama acknowledged that while the second amendment to the Constitution “guarantees an individual right to bear arms," he called for a range of gun control measures to tackle violence. While Obama did not endorse specific legislation, he gave general support for more items such as regulation of gun show purchases and making it harder for people with mental health issues to obtain guns.

In general, Obama promised that he will use “all the power of this office," to help prevent gun violence.

Stressing that his initiative includes more than just major shootings, the president noted gun violence that has occurred since Friday's mass homicide, including a police officer who was killed in Memphis and a drive-by death in Missouri.

“Violence that we cannot accept as routine," Obama said.

Following his remarks, Obama took questions from reporters, including whether he gave enough attention to gun violence during his first term and whether a short domestic attention span will be an issue for the group. Responding, the president said that the group is "not going to be a commission," noting that there are already plans it can look at as part of its review.

The end product of the group, Obama told the press, is to come up with a “concrete set of recommendations in about a month.” He added that as soon as he gets recommendations, “I will be putting forward very specific proposals."

The president also plans to address the issue in his 2013 Station of the Union address to Congress, and called for congressional action on gun control.

At one point, the president had a tense exchange with a reporter who asked whether he paid enough attention to gun control previously.

“Where have you been?” he was asked.

“I don't think I've been on vacation,” the president responded, and noted that other parts of his agenda, including working on the economy and healthcare reform, also help those who will benefit from more gun safety. However, Obama said that he feels there needs to be "some reflection on how we prioritize what we do here in Washington.”

With regards to public attention spans, the president doubted that such a loss would occur in only a month after the Newtown deaths.

Kenneth Mitchell, superintendent of the South Orangetown school district in Rockland County and member of the Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents, reacted positively when told about reports of Obama's plan for a task force.

"A task force is a great idea, as long as it does not get mired down in political churn or  produces more rhetoric than action," he wrote to Patch. "There are decades worth of data out there about the extent to which children have been killed or injured by guns.  Such a group should be able to be move rapidly."

Mitchell, who in 2009 was able to stop a parent with a unloaded gun who came into his office, called for more support from the federal and state governments in dealing with mental health, noting cuts that have been made for investment in it.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) reacted favorably with the following statement:

“I stand firmly with President Obama's call to action today for a comprehensive approach that refuses to accept gun violence as routine. Congress has ducked action on commonsense gun laws for too long. We have an obligation to prevent tomorrow’s senseless deaths by coming together and ensuring that guns stay out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill. Keeping our children safe from the scourge of gun violence is not a Republican or a Democratic principle, this is an issue for all Americans. There is no political ideology that finds this loss of life acceptable. The truth is that supporting the Second Amendment and reducing gun violence are compatible and consistent. Responsible gun owners vehemently oppose the kind of gun violence afflicting the streets of America. I am optimistic the mothers, fathers and reasonable gun owners of America will take back this conversation, and with the support of this new interagency task force, led by Vice President Joe Biden, Congress can come together and agree that no American should have access to the high capacity ammunition clips made for our military, agree to close the gun show loophole, ban military style weapons that have no recreational sports use and stop the flow of illegal guns that are devastating our communities.”

Mary December 20, 2012 at 10:24 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvOU-czQnl8
Issy December 20, 2012 at 10:35 AM
Utter nonsense. "Obama is supposedly black" and calling Obama the enemy, just more right wing rhetoric.
jeff meyer December 20, 2012 at 12:07 PM
The question at hand is what should our nation do in reaction to these outbreaks of violence as perpetrated of late. I must say that I have great respect for Sen. Joe Manchin, a NRA member, who realizes that the status quo is unacceptable and has the fortitude to say so publicly. The paranoia from the pro gun lobby that restrictions on firearms will lead to firearm eradication is unreasonable and irrational. Such a eradication would never be remotely feasible. What I wish for are reasonable limits and restrictions on the possession of firearms. There is a clear distinction in regards to a individual owning a revolver or shotgun and allowing said firearm within there home for whatever reason that they deem necessary. That opposed to individuals possessing AR-15 type weapons or any firearm with magazine capacity of 20 plus rounds. The latter is not reasonable. To answer the original question of this article I believe that civilians should not be authorized to possess magazines that have the capability of holding more then 10 rounds. Such weaponry should be allocated for law enforcement and military personnel only. Limits and restrictions upon legal firearms possession is reasonable. The publics welfare and well being should be considered in this matter. Such a restriction would not be a panacea by any means.However, the status quo is unacceptable. Twenty year olds should not have access to so many weapons with the capability of inflicting mass carnage. JM Tuckahoe, NY
JJ December 20, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Jeff..............agree.
Ann Fanizzi December 20, 2012 at 01:20 PM
This morning C-Span had a call-in show limited only to gun owners with the question what, if any regulation, would they support. Almost to a man, with the except of one apparently elderly gentleman, the consenus was to ban assault weapons and the ammo with one caller describing them as weapons of mass destruction.
Nyack Resident December 20, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Yeah, because the pro-gun loons are just so laid back they couldn't pick up the phone. I'll give you credit: you don't care how nuts you sound.
Aidan December 20, 2012 at 02:15 PM
I'm in.
Ann Fanizzi December 20, 2012 at 02:23 PM
The Preamble to the Constitution obligates the government to ensure domestic tranquility, That tranquility has been violated. Here are the exact words: We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Ann Fanizzi December 20, 2012 at 02:41 PM
From CNN - According to Officer Down Memorial Page, 120 police officers have lost their lives in the line of duty this year; the latest being 2 officers killed in Kansas; killer escaped even after a third officer fired but missed.
Racman63 December 20, 2012 at 02:41 PM
What I find amazing and saddening is that a discussion is taking place at all on this issue, both on the blogs and in Washington. Women and Children were killed. That's it. There's no argument to be had! Congress should WANT to convene right now to pass the legislation, and that legislation is simple: Henceforth, the sale, manufacture, POSSESSION and imporation of assault weapons and high capacity weapons is banned. Violaion of this code is punishible by.... ANYONE who feels there's need for more discussion had better spend some time in Newtown.
Racman63 December 20, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Again, I urge the good people on this blog to contact their U.S. senators and local congressperson and urge them not to fold and to pass extremely stringent anti gun legislation. We can only make a difference if we make our voices heard.
Racman63 December 20, 2012 at 02:48 PM
And then there's this. Armored back packs. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/50255928 Has it come to this?
Robert Guttman December 20, 2012 at 02:57 PM
People can talk around the issue all they want to, but there is no getting past the fact that the root cause of Newtown was that a gun-nut allowed her mentally-ill son access to an arsenal of high-capacity automatic weapons, complete with extra high-capacity magazines and a large supply of ammunition. It is very well to talk about care and treatment of the mentally ill, and I am all in favor of it. However, the first priority is to deny them access to deadly weapons. For all the NRA types out there, I do not apologize for using the term "gun-nut" in this instance, because there is no other term applicable to somebody who believes that they need to own an arsenal such as that. It is all very well to say that "guns don't kill people, people kill people"; but the fact is that people don't kill people UNLESS THEY ARE ARMED, and this guy was PERMITTED TO BECOME HEAVILY ARMED.
Nyack Resident December 20, 2012 at 03:17 PM
I thought you weren't responding to me anymore. That didn't last long. Yes that is right: only gun toting loons have jobs. By the way, Why aren't you at work? Are you on Welfare?
dita von struedel van trappyodel December 20, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Hey Nyack, THE MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD, don't you have a job to go to? What, with all of your companies, employees, speeches to deliver, industry groups to meet with? How can you spend so much time arguing with us mere mortals? Answer: you are an unemplyed jerk with nothing better to do.
dita von struedel van trappyodel December 20, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Thanks Jenga for brining some knowledge and throughful insight to this debate.
dita von struedel van trappyodel December 20, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Nyack - I don not use Linked In.. it is a forum for middle managers looking for jobs. I am way way above that. Also, I have no desire at all to be connected to you in any way ... you are loser with way too much time on your hands and I never deal with anyone directly who i chance by on the internet. I am confident in the knowledge that you are not THE MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD after all and I don't need your bio to prove it.
Harry One December 20, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Remember Waco remember ruby ridge remember obama justice dept selling guns to drug dealers then covering it up.Disarm the drunks at the secret service.
Bjorn Olsson December 20, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Everything except gun control, got it.
Bjorn Olsson December 20, 2012 at 04:59 PM
I think mandatory liability insurance for owning a weapon sounds like an interesting possibility.
Bjorn Olsson December 20, 2012 at 05:08 PM
First thing the Patch should do to improve message boards is to require posters to use real names.
Bjorn Olsson December 20, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Yes, that's the logical way of thinking. Houses and cars perform a useful function, with the side-effect of accidents. Assault weapons sole purpose is to kill people and there would be no adverse effects if all of them were removed tomorrow.
Bjorn Olsson December 20, 2012 at 05:14 PM
On the whole, people are a lot safer without guns in their homes. More often that not, that gun in your nightstand will be used to kill you, or someone in your family.
Bjorn Olsson December 20, 2012 at 05:16 PM
What would that retired officer be able to do when someone walks in the door with an assault rifle pointed at him? And yes, it makes a big difference whether violence is committed with a baseball bat or a gun. Have never heard of anyone killing 20 children in minutes with a baseball bat.
NorthCountyHound December 20, 2012 at 05:43 PM
MOLON LABE!
Racman63 December 20, 2012 at 05:56 PM
The N.R.A. has business relationships which offer discounts to its membership with the following businesses. DO NOT PATRON any of these businesses until they sever their relationship. Keep the pressure on: Days Inn Howard Johnson Knights Inn Ramada Travelodge Super 8 Hawthorne Suites Best Western Hertz Avis Budget National Alamo Enterprise Cut n past this in to other blogs and in to your FB pages
dita von struedel van trappyodel December 20, 2012 at 07:25 PM
I will go out of my way to patronize these folks.
dita von struedel van trappyodel December 20, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Racman, another genius.... why not blackmail businesses that have business relationships with beer companies, rebublicans, conservatives, pro-life groups, religous groups etc etc with whom you disagree.
dita von struedel van trappyodel December 20, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Racman - you and Nyack should get together via linked in. Maybe you can help each other network for a job.l
dita von struedel van trappyodel December 20, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Nobody who is rich or important would live in Nyack.

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