On Wednesday, President Barack Obama said that it was time for Congress to submit broad proposals in the month of January for stronger gun laws following the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut last week. Obama told lawmakers that a ban on military assault weapons needs to be reinstated along with the closure of loopholes that permit gun buyers to skip background checks. He also has asked for a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips.
“The fact that this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing,” Obama said. “The fact that we can’t prevent every act of violence doesn’t mean we can’t steadily reduce the violence.”
Vice President Joe Biden has been tasked with overseeing the process to create the proposals. Obama tasked Biden for the job, who has been a gun control advocate. Officials working on the proposals will also be tasked with researching new ways for increasing mental health resources and examine possible steps for the prevention of glamorizing guns and violence.
“I would hope that our memories aren’t so short that what we saw in Newtown isn’t lingering with us, that we don’t remain passionate about it only a month later,” said Obama. Obama noted that he will discuss gun violence during his State of the Union address.
When Obama was emphasizing how important it is to take action now, he noted that since the Newtown shooting, eight people have been killed in gun violence. One of the victims was a four-year-old boy and three were members of law enforcement agencies.
During his discussion, Obama said that he understands the fears of gun owners, saying that he still supports the Second Amendment. He also said that any effort to reduce gun violence will need the support of gun owners.
“I am also betting that the majority, the vast majority, of responsible law-abiding gun owners would be some of the first to say that we should be able to keep an irresponsible, law-breaking few from buying a weapon of war,” Obama said.
Obama presented a challenge to the National Rifle Association, asking them to do “some self-reflection.” On Tuesday, the NRA issued its first statement following the school shooting. The statement said that it pledges to offer “meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.”
As a part of the process, the Departments of Justice, Education, Health and Human Services and Homeland Security will join lawmakers and outside groups to perform research. On Thursday, Biden is scheduled to meet with law enforcement officials from across the country. Joining him at the meeting will be Attorney General Eric Holder, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.