No word on Obama plans to tackle violence

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney pauses as he speaks about US President Barack Obama's response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings during a media briefing at the White House in Washington. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney pauses as he speaks about US President Barack Obama's response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings during a media briefing at the White House in Washington. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
A day after President Barack Obama made an impassioned plea for changes to prevent another gun-fuelled massacre in the United States, the White House has declined to lay out any details of what he planned to do or how he planned to do it.

Obama spoke at a memorial service on Sunday (local time) for the victims of the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school and pledged to launch an effort to reduce violence by engaging law enforcement agencies, mental health professionals, parents and educators.

He did not specifically mention gun control or gun enthusiasts, however. After tragic shootings in the past, the president has called for changes without following up with concrete steps.

The White House on Monday declined to flesh out Obama's emotional pledge.

"I don't have a specific timeline for you for what the president will do moving forward," spokesman Jay Carney told a briefing. "I would simply refer you to his remarks last night when he talked about the action he hoped to take to engage the American people ... in the coming weeks."

Carney declined to comment on a proposal by independent Senator Joe Lieberman calling for a commission on violence to be set up.

Despite reiterating Obama's support for a renewal of a ban on assault weapons, Carney also declined to say specifically whether the president would back and help push a proposal that Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said she would put forward next year to reinstate the ban.

"I'm not going to engage in specific point-by-point policy proposals or prescriptions, but the president, as you know, has long supported reinstating the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004," Carney said. "As the president has said - and I just said - this is a complex problem that requires complex and a variety of solutions."

Carney did say that gun control - a divisive issue in the United States - was part but not all of the answer to address violence after the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.

"I think it's part of it but it's far from all of it," he said.

Despite not having to run for re-election, tackling guns remains a tricky issue for Obama, who has other policy priorities including immigration reform and deficit reduction in his second term.

 

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