Obama’s plan to address gun violence

December 19, 2012

At a press conference on Wednesday, President Obama announced plans to address what he called "the epidemic of gun violence that plagues this country."


First step: An inter-agency task force, led by Joe Biden, which will issue recommendations "no later than January":

The fact that we can’t prevent every act of violence, doesn’t mean that we can’t steadily reduce the violence and prevent the very worst violence. That’s why I asked the vice president to lead an effort to include members of my Cabinet and outside organizations to come up with a set of concrete proposals no later than January, proposals that I then intend to push without delay.

My colleagues report that the recommendations "will most likely include new restrictions on guns, particularly assault [weapons], and high-capacity magazines. But they say it will also probably involve measures that touch on mental health initiatives and, perhaps, a discussion on the depiction of violence in popular culture."

Second step: He asked Congress to vote on a few key gun-control measures that have popular support:

The good news is there’s already a growing consensus for us to build from. A majority of Americans support banning the sale of military-style assault weapons. A majority of Americans support banning the sale of high-capacity ammunition clips. A majority of Americans support laws requiring background checks before all gun purchases so that criminals can’t take advantage of legal loopholes to buy a gun from somebody who won’t take the responsibility of doing a background check at all.

I urge the new Congress to hold votes on these measures next year in a timely manner.

Third step: Ask Congress to confirm a director for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, something that hasn't happened in six years:

And considering Congress hasn’t confirmed a director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in six years -- the agency that works most closely with state and local law enforcement to keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals -- I’d suggest that they make this a priority early in the year.

You can read the full transcript of Obama's press conference.

Further reading:

--Ezra on what gun control can and can't do.

--Everything you need to know about the assault weapons ban, in one post.

--How the U.S. gun industry became so lucrative.

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