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Gun control: Obama pushes for changes to reduce gun violence

December 19, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
President Barack Obama is pushing for changes to help reduce gun violence in the wake of the tragedy in Connecticut.

Mr. Obama vowed to send Congress new policy proposals by January.

"This time, the words need to lead to action," the president said during a Wednesday news conference. He tasked Vice President Joe Biden with leading an administration-wide effort to create the new recommendations and pledged to push for their implementation without delay.

Biden helped author the 1994 crime bill that included an assault weapons ban. That is something that could once again be proposed following the Newtown, Conn., mass shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead.

"The fact that this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing," Mr. Obama said. "The fact that we can't prevent every act of violence doesn't mean we can't steadily reduce the violence."

Mr. Obama hinted at what proposals may be considered in this newly formed taskforce on gun violence.

"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," the president said.

The suspect in Newtown, Adam Lanza, was armed with an assault rifle and two handguns. The National Rifle Association broke its silence on Tuesday, saying it will hold a press conference on Friday and will make meaningful contributions so tragedies like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School never happen again.

"The National Rifle Association of America is made up of four million moms and dads, sons and daughters -- and we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown," the group said in a statement.

Across the country, retailers like Wal-Mart and Dick's Sporting Goods have stopped sales of the Bushmaster rifle used in Newtown. In California, lawmakers are proposing updates to the state's assault weapons ban, like requiring annual permit renewals for ammunition purchases and prohibiting bullet buttons, which allows guns to be easily reloaded with multiple rounds.

On Wednesday, California Sen. Barbara Boxer proposed to two bills. One would utilize more federal resources to install security cameras and equipment at public schools. The second bill would place National Guard troops on campuses.

"National Guard troops could be used to help support local law enforcement agencies in protecting our children at schools," Boxer said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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