President Barack Obama will on Wednesday announce the first step on gun control following the Newtown school shootings: an interagency task force, led by Vice President Joe Biden, charged with guiding the administration’s continuing response.
The announcement will be the third time in five days Obama has addressed the massacre that killed 20 first-graders and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. And it will follow a call on Friday for “meaningful action” and his Sunday pledge to use the White House to “engage” Americans to prevent mass shootings.
According to a White House official, the president likely won’t make significant policy announcements but will instead explain how his administration will determine what to do next.
Obama spoke Monday with Biden and three Cabinet secretaries – Attorney General Eric Holder, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius — “to begin looking at ways the country can respond to the tragedy in Newtown,” the White House said.
Meanwhile, Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s senior adviser, who traveled with him to Connecticut for the vigil on Sunday, spent an hour on Tuesday meeting in the White House Roosevelt Room with 10 victims of past mass shootings and Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Gross said Jarrett didn’t reveal what Obama plans to do but accepted a letter to the president from the delegation of victims.
“She in no uncertain terms reaffirmed the president’s commitment to doing whatever he can … to make this the best nation that we can be and protect the safety of our kids,” Gross said. “She said that we need to look at the issue comprehensively and policy is part of it.”
...Before their White House meeting Tuesday, the Brady delegation met at the Capitol with Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and, in what Gross said was a first for the group, representatives of House Republicans.
“We seem to be at a unique moment in time where there seems to be significantly more momentum,” Gross said. “It clearly demonstrated that we’re having this conversation in a different way than we have in the past.”
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