Jolted into action, US takes first steps on gun control



Washington: US Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday held the first meeting of his task force to formulate concrete proposals on gun control in the aftermath of a heart breaking school tragedy, though the White House recognised that it would not be possible to completely stop gun violence.

The Biden-led task force, which was set up by US President Barack Obama on Wednesday, held its first meeting with the Vice President saying 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," said the Vice President.

- "The President is absolutely committed to keeping his promise that we will act, and we will act in a way that is designed -- even if, as he says, we can only save one life, we have to take action," Biden said in his remarks in which he referred to ban on assault weapons.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his daily news conference that though it was not possible to completely eliminate gun violence from the country, there was an imperative to reduce it.

"We'll never stop all gun violence in America, but we need to reduce it," the White House said.

"We need to take action to do everything we can to prevent the kinds of appalling atrocities like the one we saw in Connecticut on Friday," he said, referring to the tragic incident that killed 20 school children.

The Pew Research Centre said in a report that the public's attitudes toward gun control has shown modest change in the wake of last week's deadly shooting at an elementary school in Newtown.

Currently, 49 percent say it is more important to control gun ownership, while 42 percent say it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns.

This marks the first time since Barack Obama took office that significantly more Americans prioritise gun control than the right to own guns, it said.

PTI