Obama Appoints Biden to Oversee Newtown Policy Response

"We're going to be serious about making sure that something like Newtown never happens again,” Obama said in a press conference today announcing his administration's response.


President Barack Obama has appointed the vice president to head the administration’s response to the Newtown shootings, a response Obama said Congress should take up early next year and should focus on whether to ban “military-style” assault weapons as well as high-capacity gun magazines.

The president said that while he’s ready to use the power of his office to do something to stop such tragedies from happening again, he added he would need everyone’s help in the country to get it done.

“It won’t be easy, but that’s not an excuse not to try. It’s going to take a wave of Americans ... standing up and saying ‘enough’ on behalf of our kids. It will take commitment, compromise and most of all, it will take courage. We're going to be serious about making sure that something like Newtown never happens again.”

The effort Vice President Joe Biden will head, Obama said, will not be “some Washington commission” that will simply study the issue for six months and then submit a report that will just be shelved.

Instead, he said, Biden will work closely and quickly with other members of Obama’s cabinet, as well as stakeholders in and out of Congress, to come up with a multi-pronged approach to the problem of gun violence in this country and make a recommendation, probably within a month, to “reduce the epidemic of gun violence.”

The Newtown shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in which 20 children and six adults were gunned down by a 20-year-old man using an assault-style rifle, has provided a tipping point for serious political action on gun violence, Obama said.

“This time, the words have to lead to action.”

Asked whether he thought this incident, like ones in the past, would provide debate on gun control but no real action, Obama said he has faith that Americans this time want action.

“The idea that we would say this is terrible and this is a tragedy and ‘never again,’ and to not have the attention span to get this done over the next month would be terrible. And I have more faith in the American people than that."

Also asked about the NRA and its expected opposition to gun control measures, Obama said he is hoping even people in the NRA were shocked enough by the Newtown shootings to be open minded.

“Hopefully they’ll do some self-reflection.”

TF December 19, 2012 at 07:12 PM
I hope I speak for much of America when I say that big changes must happen as a result of the President's commitment for action. It will not take just more laws and bans. We as Americans need to step up and all take part in making our country safer. We CANNOT let these 20 beautiful children and 6 heroic teachers die in vain. We as a nation weep with you now Newtown and United we must stand. We will ALWAYS remember those lost on that fateful day and may they rest in peace.
snorkel December 19, 2012 at 07:16 PM
I hope they also look at improving the physical security at the schools, and get rid of the damn glass around the doors, and install steel reinforced concrete poles to prevent cars from being driven through the doors. People need to remember it's not just our own home grown nut jobs that can do stuff like this.
snorkel December 19, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Banks have better security than our schools and the content of the schools is far more valuable. The better look at providing some defensive measures that can be accessed by the Principal and a backup person. This could include vests and some form of non lethal defense such as pepper or tear gas spray
TF December 19, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Agreed. Part of this plan should definitely include ways to better protect our schools to be more prepared for such acts without making them like prisons. I'm seeing lots of comments that even if Sandy Hook had a security guard out front this madman would have still gotten in. Maybe. But maybe the chance of him getting in would have been 25% less. Pretty sure the families who lost loved ones would've gladly accepted that chance.
snorkel December 19, 2012 at 08:29 PM
You know, in this case I think the deterrent of a guard being seen by the freak would have stopped him because of his aversion to people because of his "issues" He waited until the parking lot was clear of people before shooting the glass out. Unfortunately hindsight is 20/20 :-( The sight of a guard would have made him not in control and he might have simply shot himself in the parking lot. This monster was the lowest kind of coward ever seen in history....
snorkel December 19, 2012 at 08:34 PM
The elementary where my kids go has the same security system as Sandy Hook and the front entrance is surrounded by large areas of glass. All the other doors are heavy steel doors, but the front entrance and office is wide open to this kind of attack. Biden better not be the fool he usually is on this or I will not be pleased. if they are going to use the glass it needs to be bullet proof and shatter proof at a bare minimum.
DCovey December 20, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Snorkel has a point: the presence of a guard at the school could have discouraged the armed perpetrator. Security measures need to be seriously reevaluated for Newtown schools as the town no longer fits the definition of a small town. According to the last census, Newtown, CT has a population of just under 30,000(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newtown,_Connecticut , see Demographics, Population ), and is largest town in Fairfield County. As we know, Fairfield County, CT is a part of the greater New York City, Tri-State region. Newtown's geographical location combined with the this horrible tragedy warrants a 360 approach to security in all of the town's schools and public buildings. Many towns in Massachusetts schools have had metal detectors installed in their high schools to help prevent individuals from entering with an armed weapon. One such town is West Roxbury, MA, a fine town that is part of greater Boston metro and practically mirrors the demographics and environment of Newtown, CT. *Article, "Metal detectors installed at West Roxbury, MA Educational Complex" by West Roxbury Transcript via Wickedlocal.com http://www.wickedlocal.com/roslindale/news/x1128399275/Metal-detectors-installed-at-West-Roxbury-Educational-Complex#ixzz2FXbGQPVU Metal detectors need to be a part of a security program at schools for all grades here in CT, along with bar coded identification badges for students and staff swipe at one secured main entrance. No glass panes required.
Watts December 20, 2012 at 07:55 AM
Joe Biden is the man. I have been behind Biden for decades. Joe is a man of virtue. If anything of substance is going to be done, it is going to be done under him.
Susan Joy January 01, 2013 at 02:42 AM
But even with metal detectors and a security guard Adam Lanza would have still gotten in to the school and done damage. Metal detectors would not stop someone who is shooting their way into a school.
Fred January 06, 2013 at 03:18 PM
Well, name one thing this man has done of substance, just one


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