Washington: In the wake of the huge public outcry over the deadly Connecticut elementary school massacre, President Barack Obama has set a January deadline for proposals to deal with gun violence in the United States.
Five days after last week's massacre that left 26, including 20 children, dead, Obama on Wednesday formed a new group led by Vice President Joe Biden charged with developing "concrete proposals" for dealing with gun violence "no later than January." The group will include some cabinet members and outside organizations.
No single law or set of laws can prevent gun violence, Obama said at a news conference on Wednesday calling for quick action from Congress. But the complexity of the issue "can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing". "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," Obama said of the group set up by him.
"This is a team that has a very specific task to pull together real reforms right now." Authorities must work to make "access to mental health care at least as easy as access to a gun," and the country needs to tackle a "culture that all too often glorifies guns and violence," he said.
Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein has said she will introduce legislation to reinstate the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday that the president supports that effort. But some have suggested future tragedies can be avoided by arming teachers.
Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, said if more guns had been at Sandy Hook Elementary School, most victims would be alive. Meanwhile, in the wale of the Connecticut tragedy, a growing number of people are looking for action from the government and society that can prevent future incidents, according to a new national survey.
And the CNN/ORC International poll released Wednesday also indicated that a bare majority now favour major restrictions on owning guns or an outright ban on gun ownership by ordinary citizens and more than six in ten favour a ban on semi-automatic assault rifles.