In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting in December, President Barack Obama has vowed to take meaningful action on gun control. He appointed Vice President Joe Biden as head of a task force to explore what should be done to prevent future tragedies, and issue a report by the end of January.
Biden will meet with a range of groups this week to gather information and put together a set of recommendations for the president. White House press secretary Jay Carney said the administration looks forward to hearing from a variety of organizations with insight into the problem of gun violence:
[T]he process is designed to get input. And then the vice president's group will assess different actions, make recommendations, and the president will decide what he would like to pursue, what he believes is the right course of action, in addition to what he has already called on Congress to do, which is pass the assault weapons ban, pass legislation that would ban high-capacity magazines, pass a bill that would close loopholes in our background check system.
Biden will meet with gun safety and gun victims groups on Wednesday, and will meeting with pro-gun groups, including the National Rifle Association, on Thursday. He will also meet with representatives from the entertainment industry, and other members of the administration have meetings scheduled with various education and mental health groups.
The December killing of 20 children at the school in Newtown, Conn. spurred vows by Obama and members of Congress that new gun control would finally be tackled in Washington. Such claims by politicians are customary after high-profile mass shootings, of which there were several in 2012—but change desired by gun control advocates rarely follows.
The recommendations by the Biden task force are likely to include both proposals for bills that would make gun laws stricter, as well as possible executive action Obama could take on his own without Congress. Several gun control bills have already been introduced in the new session of Congress, including a bans on online ammunition sales and the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines. California Sen. Diane Feinstein has also pledged to introduce a stricter version of the federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.
In the past Obama has used executive action to bypass Congress on issues they've failed to address. In 2012, he issued an executive order that stayed the deportations of some young undocumented immigrants and allowed them to apply for work permits.
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