On the one month anniversary of the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, President Obama addressed the topic of gun violence in his final press conference of his first term. The President told reporters he planned to meet with Vice President Joe Biden later in the day to look over Biden’s proposals to reduce gun violence.
“If there is a step we can take that will save even one child from what happened in Newtown,” President Obama said, “We should take that step.”
Last month, President Obama tasked VP Biden with concocting a plan to reduce gun violence. It’s familiar territory for Biden, who fought in 1994 to create a federal ban on assault weapons. The President promised to report after reviewing Biden’s proposals.
One challenge, according to the President is that even the hint of tougher gun laws “fans this notion” that Americans will lose their gun rights. That fear hinders progress on the gun debate, creating stasis in Congress. Though he declined to offer specifics before meeting with Joe Biden, President Obama suggested an executive order might be on the horizon if Congress couldn’t find compromise.
Even as the federal government debates how best to balance gun rights while preventing tragedy, a number of states have begun tightening restrictions for guns and ammo. New York passed a law today that would require ammunition dealers to run background checks on purchasers and report sales. California has proposed requiring guns remain locked when not in use.
Gun violence has been in the spotlight since last month, when a shooter killed more than 20 children and several employees at Sandy Hook Elementary school. Since then, incidences of attempted school shootings have swept the nation. Today, two men are hospitalized after a school employee shot an administrator before turning the gun on himself.
President Obama agreed to review Biden’s proposals and share them with the public within the week.