House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) named Thompson the chairman of the committee in response to the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December. The shooting resulted in 27 dead including 20 children.
The vice chairmen include Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.), who survived a shooting in Tucscon, Ariz., in early 2011. Then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was the target of that shooting.
Other vice chairmen on the task force, all Democrats, are: Reps. John Dingell (Mich.), Bill Enyart (Ill.), Elizabeth Etsy (Conn.), Chaka Fattah (Pa.), Carolyn McCarthy (N.Y.), Grace Napolitano (Calif.), Ed Perlmutter (Colo.), David Price (N.C.) Bobby Scott (Va.), Jackie Speier (Calif.), and Bennie Thompson (Miss.)
President Obama has also vowed to take new steps to reduce gun violence and prevent shootings similar to Sandy Hook. He appointed Vice President Biden as the head of a separate effort to come up with solutions to preventing gun violence.
A number of Republican and Democratic lawmakers, including a few with "A" ratings from the National Rifle Association, have called for federal "action" to reduce gun violence.