President Barack Obama announced today that he's "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 -- proposals that I then intend to push without delay."
But make no mistake, Obama made clear: "This is not some Washington commission."
Instead, according to the president, "This is a team that has a very specific task, to pull together real reforms right now. I asked Joe to lead this effort in part because he wrote the 1994 Crime Bill that helped law enforcement bring down the rate of violent crime in this country. That plan -- that bill also included the assault weapons ban that was publicly supported at the time by former Presidents including Ronald Reagan."
The non-Washington commission, that will in fact operate as a commission located in Washington, D.C., will focus on "the epidemic of gun violence that plagues this country every single day," the president said today at the White House.
Obama hopes the group led by Biden will in some way curb gun violence. And he believes the American people are on his side.
"The good news is there’s already a growing consensus for us to build from," said Obama. "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."
Obama did make clear he believes in the right to bear arms and that "the vast majority of gun owners in America are responsible."
"Look, like the majority of Americans, I 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 sport shooting, collection or protection," said Obama.