Vice President Biden To Lead Inter-Agency Gun Task Force

6:34 AM, Dec 19, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (CBS) -- President Obama will announce Wednesday that he's naming Vice President Biden to lead an inter-agency process to formulate policies designed to lower the likelihood of any future Newtown-like tragedies, White House officials tell CBS News.

The White House aides say Mr. Obama won't announce significant new policies on gun control or other Newtown-related issues. Instead, he will discuss an administration process to look at all issues related to the elementary school massacre, the officials say.

After a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Friday, the president declared that changes must be made, but was initially vague on what sorts of changes, especially to gun laws, he would seek, other than to say he would talk with mental health professionals and lawmakers about how to move forward.

On Tuesday, a day after Mr. Obama met with Biden and members of his Cabinet about guns and violence, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney provided more details about the sort of gun control legislation Mr. Obama could back.

Carney said the president would consider measures limiting high-volume ammunition and closing the "gun show loophole" - a provision that allows people to circumvent background checks by purchasing a gun from an unlicensed seller at gun shows, online and via other venues.

The president also backs a ban on assault weapons, Carney said. Mr. Obama's advisers insist he has long been behind such a ban, even though the president did not push the issue after previous mass shootings in Tucson, Ariz., and Aurora, Colo.

But Carney insisted that legislation alone won't solve the problem of gun violence. "It is a simply a fact that legislation that addresses access to certain types of weapons or magazines or how we perform background checks, while they have merit and the president supports the ones that I've mentioned, would not alone address this problem," he said.

Since the Newtown carnage, sentiment on Capitol Hill and in polls appears to have shifted toward tighter gun control laws. The nation's most influential gun rights group, the National Rifle Association, initially went mum after the Newtown shooting, but now promises "meaningful contributions" aimed at avoiding another Newtown.

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