President Obama establishes plan to curb gun violence

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President Obama has promised federal action to curb gun violence in America, saying he will address the issue with specific recommendations in his 2013 State of the Union address. He also urged Congress to take its own action as soon as possible.

In a Dec. 19 press conference, the president announced a federal task force, headed by Vice President Joe Biden, in response to the mass killing at Sandy Hook Elementary and said Congress should vote on measures banning the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as passing a measure to require background checks for any gun sale. 

The group led by Biden will deliver a set of recommendations by the end of January, and the president said he wants very specific proposals to discuss in his State of the Union address.

Efforts to curb gun violence will also have social and healthcare related matters, said Obama. "We're going to need to work on making access to mental health care at least as easy as access to a gun."

The president was careful to temper language on gun control with statements in support of the Second Amendment, saying he believed in the right to bear arms but said that military-grade should be kept out of irresponsible hands.

 "There is a big chunk of space between what the Second Amendment means and having no rules at all, and that space is what Joe's going to be working on to try to identify where we'll find some common ground," Obama said.

Obama chose Biden to lead the efforts because of his history of gun legislation in the Senate including an assault weapons ban in 1994, which expired in 2004.

For more:
- watch the president's announcement (embedded video)
- read a transcript of the press conference

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