WASHINGTON, (UPI) — U.S. Vice President Joe Biden Thursday told police officials they are the ones in the best position to advise Washington on how to deal with gun violence.
In the wake of Friday’s horrific shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., President Barack Obama directed Biden to head up a committee to advise him on action that could curb the mass shootings that have become all too common.
Biden convened a meeting at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building with a number of law enforcement officials to begin formulating proposals to be submitted to Congress next month.
“You know better than anyone what is needed out there,” Biden told the group in a statement before the meeting was closed to the press. “And what I think the public has learned about you is you have a much more holistic view of how to deal with violence on our streets and in our country than you’re ever given credit for.”
Biden helped write the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which included an assault-weapons ban that expired in 2004.
Biden said the administration will need the help of law enforcement to get the ban reinstated.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and other lawmakers have said they will introduce legislation banning assault weapons when the new Congress convenes in January.
Obama reiterated his support Wednesday for the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right to bear arms, but said, “We should be able to keep an irresponsible, law-breaking few from buying a weapon of war.
“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 is going to be working on to try to identify where we can find some common ground,” Obama said.
Obama promised to use “all the powers” of his office to overcome deep-seated political resistance to gun control.
The Wall Street Journal said those powers would likely include using administrative action to put some gun regulations into place.
Leading House Republicans responded to the president’s pledge by restating their firm opposition to new limits on guns or ammunition.
Adam Lanza, 20, fatally shot his mother at their home before the attack on the Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 children and six teachers dead. He then killed himself.
House Democrats urged Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to bring a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines to a vote by Saturday.
His office had no immediate comment.