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Obama presses for new gun policies after Connecticut shooting

Washington, Dec 19, 2012 (PTI): 7:28 IST
A sign is hung up across the street from the funeral home during the wake of school principal Dawn Hochsprung, a victim in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, in Woodbury, Connecticut, December 19, 2012. Reuters
US President Barack Obama today announced a committee led by Vice President Joe Biden will come up with "concrete proposals" to curb gun violence, days after a shootout inside a Connecticut school left 20 children and six teachers dead.

"I've asked the vice president to lead an effort that includes members of my Cabinet and outside organizations to come up with a set of concrete proposals no later than January that I then intend to push without delay," Obama said.

"This is not some Washington commission. This is not something where folks are going to be studying the issue for six months and publishing a report that gets read and then pushed aside. This is a team that has a very specific task to pull together real reforms right now," he said.

Obama said there's already a growing consensus to address this issue. "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," he said.

He urged the new Congress to hold votes on these measures next year in a timely manner. Like the majority of Americans, he said, he believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms.

"This country has a strong tradition of gun ownership that's been handed down from generation to generation. Obviously, across the country there are regional differences. There are differences between how people feel in urban areas and rural areas. And the fact is the vast majority of gun owners in America are responsible. They buy their guns legally, and they use them safely, whether for hunting or sports shooting, collection or protection," he noted.

Obama said he is also betting that the vast majority, of responsible, law-abiding gun owners would be some of the first to say that the country should be able to keep an irresponsible, law- breaking few from buying a weapon of war.

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