Biden convenes gun violence task force

Vice President Biden held the first meeting of the White House's gun-violence working group on Thursday, convening law enforcement officials and Cabinet secretaries for a meeting at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

Biden said the group would work to find "a comprehensive way in which to respond to the mass murder of our children that we saw in Connecticut." He said he felt it was important to launch the effort with a "frank" discussion among those who saw the aftermath of gun violence on a daily basis.


“You have a much more holistic view about how to deal with violence on our streets and in our country,” Biden added.

The vice president said he would also call on the law enforcement officials to help in a legislative push against "everything from cop-killer bullets to type of weapons that should be off the street," adding there was "no reason" why an updated assault weapons ban could not pass Congress.

Biden and the dozen local law enforcement officials in attendance were joined by Attorney General Eric Holder, along with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, along with top White House aides.

Even as the White House insisted the problem of gun violence was a "complex issue" and deserving of further study, White House press secretary Jay Carney on Thursday outlined concrete recommendations the president was expecting from the working group.

Carney said that in addition to bans on the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips, the White House would push a law that required background checks on all gun purchases, even those conducted at gun shows or over the Internet.

Carney added that the president would also call on Congress to "take action to improve coordination between the federal government and state and local law enforcement to keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals."

But asked whether the president was open to a federal buy-back program of ammunition clips and certain types of weapons, Carney said he was not sure whether such a proposal was being considered by the Biden task force.

"I haven't heard that discussed, but this process is ongoing," Carney said.

The White House also said that they did not have specific policy proposals to address depictions of violence in entertainment products like movies and video games.

"I don't have a specific proposal when it comes to cultural matters," Carney said. "But it is certainly the case that we in Washington have the potential, anyway, to help elevate issues that are of concern, elevate issues that contribute to the scourge of gun violence in this country."