Joe Biden to Lead Task Force to Prevent Gun Violence

President Obama discusses administration's response to shootings in Newtown, Conn.
9:44 | 12/19/12

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Transcript for Joe Biden to Lead Task Force to Prevent Gun Violence
This is an ABC news special report. Tragedy at -- Good morning I'm Diane Sawyer here with George Stephanopoulos and we join you five days after 26 children and teachers were gunned down. At sandy hook elementary because President Obama is about the outlined his priorities. For reducing gun violence in America and we expect especially from assault weapons stored in -- on Sunday the president was emphatic an angry. Saying America must change and act and this violence today. The first steps toward a solution is an attempt Vice President Biden to lead the administration's effort to come up with -- and of course Vice President -- longtime chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Instrumental in passing the original assault weapons ban in 1994. And that -- also prevented the ability to -- load. Unless you had under ten bullets and we'll see if they reinstate the ban and the amount. I'm reloading you can have its magazines as well let's go to Jake Tapper senior White House correspondent standing by in the Brady -- -- Jake. Good afternoon Diane well that's right in addition. To the approach and addressing other regulation of firearms President Obama and White House officials have said that this approach this inter agency. Project that vice president Biden will be spearheading. Is not just about gun control is also about mental health it is also about school safety for that reason the agencies involved. Are not just Homeland Security in the Justice Department but also the department of health and human services and the Education Department. And that's what the president will be announcing today although we do have a hint of the -- programs that he does support such as renewing that ban on semiautomatic assault rifles. So we're standing by waiting the president addresses all of those things and here now. Good morning -- but it. It's now been five days since the heartbreaking tragedy at Newtown Connecticut. Three days since we gathered as a nation to pray for the victims and today a few more of the forty small children and six educators were taken from us will be laid to rest. We may never know all the reasons why this treasury happen. We do know that. Every day cents. More Americans have died of gun violence. We know such violence has terrible consequences for society. And if there is even one thing that we can do to prevent any of these events we have a deep obligation. All of us to -- Over these past five days of discussion has reemerged as to what we might do not only -- deter mass shootings in the future. But to reduce the epidemic. Gun violence that -- this country every single -- And it's encouraging that people of all different backgrounds of beliefs and political persuasions have been willing to challenge some old assumptions. And change longstanding. Positions. That conversation -- to continue but this time the words need to lead to action. We know this is -- complex issue that stirs deeply -- passions and political divides. And as I said on Sunday night there's no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. We're gonna need to work on making access to mental health care at least disease he has access to a gun. We're gonna need to look more closely -- culture that all too often glorifies guns and violence. In any actions. We must -- must begin inside the home and inside our hearts. But the fact that this problem is complex. Can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing. The fact that we can't prevent every. Act of violence doesn't mean we can't steadily reduce the violence. And prevent the very worst violence. That's why I've asked the vice president. To lead an effort that includes members of my cabinet. And outside organizations to come up -- -- a set of concrete proposals. No later than January. Proposals but -- -- intend to push without delay. This is not some Washington commission this is not something where folks are going to be studying the issue for six months and publishing a report that. Gets read and then. Pushed aside. This is a team that has a very specific test to pull together real reforms. Right now. I asked Joseph to lead this -- in part because he wrote the 1994 crime bill that -- law enforcement bring down the rate of violent crime in this country. That plan. That bill also included -- assault weapons ban. That was publicly supported at the time by former presidents. Including Ronald Reagan. The good news there's there's already a growing consensus. For us to build off. A majority of Americans support banning the sale of military style assault weapons. A majority Americans support banning the sale of high capacity ammunition clips. A majority of Americans support. Laws requiring background checks before all gun purchases so that were criminals can't take advantage of legal loopholes to buy a gun from somebody. Who won't take the responsibility. Of doing a background check at all. I urge the new congress to hold votes on these measures next year in the time we -- And considering congress hasn't confirmed -- director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms in six years. The agency that works most closely with state and local law enforcement to keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals. I'd suggest that they make this a priority for early in the year. -- Like the majority of Americans I believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to -- office. This country as a strong tradition of gun ownership that's been handed down from generation to generation. Obviously across the country there are regional differences their differences between. How people feel an urban areas and -- -- And the -- is. The vast majority of gun owners in America are responsible they buy their guns legally and they use them safely. Whether for hunting or sport shooting -- collection or protection. But you know what. I am also betting that the majority. The vast majority of responsible law abiding gun owners. Would be some of the first to say that we should be able to keep an irresponsible while breaking -- from buying a weapon of war. I'm willing to bet that they don't think that using a gun. And using common sense are incompatible ideas. That an unbalanced man should be able to get his hands on military style assault rifle so easily. That in this age of technology we should be able to check someone's criminal records before he or she can check out. At a gun show. That if we work harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people there would be fewer atrocities like the one in Newtown. Or any of the lesser known tragedies of this small towns and big cities all across America every day. Cents Friday morning. A police officer was gunned down and Memphis leaving for children without their mother. Two officers were killed outside of -- restore in -- A woman was shot and killed inside a Las Vegas casino. Three people were shot inside an Alabama hospital. A four year old was caught in a drive by in Missouri. And taken off life support just yesterday. Each one of these Americans was a victim. Every day gun violence that takes the lives of more than 101000. Americans every year. Violence that we cannot except. As routine. It's always use all the powers of this office to help advance. Efforts aimed at preventing more tragedies like this and we won't prevent the mall. But that can't be an excuse not to -- and it won't be easy. But I can't be an excuse. Not to try. And I'm not gonna -- -- do it by myself. Ultimately if this effort is to succeed it's going to require the help of the American people. Gonna require all of you. Really change things and it's gonna take a wave Americans mothers and fathers. Daughters and sons pastors. Law enforcement mental health professionals. And yes gun owners standing up and saying enough. On behalf for -- We'll take commitment and compromise. The most volatile -- -- With those of us were sent here to serve the public trust can summon. Even -- a tiny iota of the -- Those teachers. That principle in Newtown summoned on Friday. If cooperation. And common sense prevail. I'm convinced we can make it sensible intelligent way. To make the United States of America safer stronger place for children to -- and -- well.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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