Obama announces creation of task force on gun violence
President holds press conference at White House
- Duration 7:59
- Date Dec 19, 2012
President holds press conference at White House
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Good morning everybody it.
It's now been five days since the heart breaking tragedy of Newtown Connecticut.
Three days since we gathered as a nation to pray for the victims and today a few more of the forty small children and six educators were taken from us will be laid to rest.
We may never know all the reasons why this tragedy happened.
We do know that.
Every day sends.
More Americans have died of gun violence.
We know such violence -- Terrible consequences for society.
And if there is even one thing that we can do to prevent any of these events we have a deep obligation.
All of us to -- Over these past five days of discussion as -- emerge as to what we might do not only to deter mass shootings in the future.
But to reduce the epidemic.
Gun violence that -- this country every single day.
And it's encouraging that people of all different backgrounds and beliefs and political persuasions have been willing to challenge some old assumptions.
And change longstanding.
That conversation -- to continue but this time the words need to lead to action.
We know this is -- complex issue that stirs deeply -- passions and political divides.
And as I said on Sunday night there's no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence in our society.
We're gonna need to work on making access to mental health care at least as -- as access to about.
We're gonna need to look more closely -- culture that all too often glorifies guns and violence.
And any actions.
We must -- must begin inside the -- and inside our hearts.
But the fact that this problem is complex.
Can no longer be an excuse for doing -- The fact that we can't prevent every.
Act of violence doesn't mean we can't steadily reduce the violence.
And prevent the very worst violence.
That's why I've asked the vice president.
To lead an effort that includes members of my cabinet.
And outside organizations to come up -- -- a set of concrete proposals.
No later than January.
Proposals that I've been intend to push without delay.
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.
This is a team that has a very specific test to pull together real -- for us right now.
I asked Joseph to lead this effort in part because he wrote the 1994 crime bill that help law enforcement bring down the rate of violent crime in this country.
That bill also included -- assault weapons ban.
That was publicly supported at the time by former presidents.
Including Ronald Reagan.
The good news there's there's already a growing consensus.
For us to build off.
The majority of Americans support banning the sale of military style assault weapons.
A majority of American support banning the sale of high capacity ammunition clips.
A majority of Americans support.
Laws requiring background checks before all gun purchases so the -- -- 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.
I urge the new congress to hold votes on these measures next year in a timely manner.
And considering congress hasn't confirmed the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms in six years.
The agency that works most closely with state and local law enforcement to keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals.
I'd suggest that they make this a priority early in the year.
Like the majority of Americans I believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to -- office.
This country as a strong tradition of gun ownership that's been handed down from generation to generation.
Obviously across the country there are regional differences their differences between.
How people feel an urban areas and -- errors.
And the fact is.
The vast majority.
Gun owners in America are responsible they buy their guns legally and they use them safely.
Whether for hunting or sport shooting -- collection or protection.
But you know what.
I am also betting that.
The vast majority of responsible law abiding gun owners.
Would be some of the first to say that we should be able to keep an irresponsible wall breaking fuel from -- a weapon of war.
I'm willing to bet that they don't think that using a gun.
And using common sense are incompatible ideas.
That an unbalanced man should be able to get his hands on -- military style assault rifle so easily.
That in this age of technology we should be able to check someone's criminal records before he or she can check out.
At a gun show.
That if we work harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people there would be fewer atrocities like the one in Newtown.
Or any of the lesser known tragedies of business small towns and big cities all across America every day.
Cents Friday morning.
A police officer was gunned down in Memphis leaving for children without their mother.
Two officers were killed outside a corps -- store in -- A woman was shot and killed inside a Las Vegas casino.
Three people were shot inside and Alabama hospital.
A four year old was caught in a drive by in Missouri.
And taken off life support just yesterday.
Each one of these Americans was a victim.
Every day gun violence that takes the lives of more than 101000.
Americans every year.
Violence that we cannot except as routine.
So I would use all the powers of this office to help advance.
Efforts aimed at preventing more tragedies like this and we won't prevent the mall.
But that can't be an excuse not to -- and it won't be easy.
But I can't be an excuse.
Not to try.
And I'm not -- -- do it by myself.
Ultimately if this effort is to succeed it's going to require the help of the American people.
Federal -- all of you.
Really change things -- it's gonna take a wave of Americans mothers and fathers.
Daughters and sons pastors.
Law enforcement mental health professionals.
And yes gun owners standing up and saying enough.
-- -- -- -- -- We'll take commitment and compromise.
The most volatile -- coach.
But those of us were sent here to serve the public trust can -- Even -- -- tiny iota of encourage.
Those teachers that principle in -- summoned on Friday.
And common sense prevail.
I'm convinced we can make -- sensible intelligent way.
To make the United States of America safer stronger place for children to learn and -- well.