Obama Calls on Congress to Act on Gun Control

Posted December 19th, 2012 at 12:55 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama has called on Congress to act on reinstating an assault weapons ban and closing the gun show loophole that allows guns to be purchased from private dealers without background checks.

At the White House Wednesday, President Obama said he has named his vice president, Joe Biden, to lead an effort to come up with a set of concrete proposals no later than January on addressing gun violence.

He noted that a number of Americans, including police officers, have been killed by gun violence since Friday, when a gunman with a military-style weapon killed 20 children and six adults at a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school in the second-worst school shooting in the nation's history.

President Obama said the country has a deep obligation to prevent such violence in the future.

He also said Congress needs to act on confirming a director to the agency that regulates guns, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or the ATF. Congress has not approved an ATF director for six years.

The president noted that funerals are continuing Wednesday for the victims of the Connecticut attack. Family, friends and loved ones are saying final farewells to the school's principal, a teacher and at least three more of the children.

Classes resumed at all Newtown schools Tuesday, except Sandy Hook. Officials say plans are under way to move classes to a school in the nearby town of Monroe, possibly in January.

Also, investigators are trying to determine a motive. Authorities believe 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother at home and then took some of her guns with him to the school.

The deadly rampage has re-ignited the gun control debate in the United States.

California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, the author of the assault weapons ban that lapsed in 2004, said she would introduce new legislation at the start of the next Congress in January.

The worst school shooting occurred in 2007, when a gunman killed 32 people at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, known widely as Virginia Tech.