As the Newtown community laid two of its young victims to rest, President Obama met with top officials to try to prevent more tragedies like Newtown. On Monday afternoon, the president discussed the issue with Vice President Joe Biden and cabinet members, which included Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
While White House press secretary Jay Carney remained vague on policy proposals, he said action on gun control could come sooner rather than later.
“He didn’t talk about months or years,” Carney said about the president’s views. “He said ‘coming weeks.’”
At the emotional vigil Sunday night, Obama seemed to offer a more explicit call to action on gun control, at least compared to previous speeches on other mass shooting tragedies.
“We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change,” said Obama. “We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law–no set of laws–can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society.” He added, “But that can’t be an excuse for inaction.”
Two senators are taking action immediately by reintroducing gun control bills at the start of the next session. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, a Democrat from New Jersey, announced plans to reintroduce his high-capacity magazine ban legislation at the beginning of the 113th Congress in January. In a written statement, he said:
“In light of yet another horrific shooting tragedy, it is clearer than ever that there is no place in our communities for deadly high-capacity gun magazines and I will keep working to pass my bill to reinstate the ban on them. If we don’t pass a high-capacity magazine ban this year, it will be the first bill I introduce when the new session of Congress begins in January. These high-capacity magazines, which were used in Newtown, Aurora, Tucson, Virginia Tech, and so many other tragedies, were designed for one purpose only–to shoot and kill quickly. We must take immediate action to ban high-capacity gun magazines and assault weapons so that we can prevent the next massacre.”
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California announced on Sunday she plans to introduce an updated piece of legislation early next year. In 1994, she authored the Assault Weapons Ban; it expired in 2004.
“I have been working with my staff for over a year on this legislation,” Feinstein said. “It will be carefully focused on the most dangerous guns that have killed so many people over the years while protecting the rights of gun owners by exempting hundreds of weapons that fall outside the bill’s scope. We must take these dangerous weapons of war off our streets.”