Tom Carper, U.S. Senator for Delaware

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) released the following statement after the President announced a new initiative to combat gun violence:

"Last month, President Obama tapped Vice President Biden to lead a task force on reducing gun violence in the wake of the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Over the last several weeks, Joe met with a broad group of stakeholders, including victims of gun violence, law enforcement, mayors and governors, sportsmen and hunters, educators, mental health experts, the video game and movie industries, and the leadership of the National Rifle Association. 

"The President asked Joe to get the facts, to figure out the right thing to do, and to quickly make concrete recommendations to address gun violence across our country, and today the President unveiled his plan. From directing federal agencies to research the causes of gun violence, to nominating a director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, to launching a national dialogue on mental health, President Obama demonstrated he's willing to lead on this issue. But, as the President made clear, we need Congress to act if we're really going to reduce gun violence.

"As a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I believe that law-abiding citizens have the right to buy and own guns. I also believe that even the most ardent Second Amendment advocates believe that we can take common sense steps to reduce gun violence. For example, the President put forward a proposal to eliminate the loopholes in the current background check system.  Over the years, just about everyone I've spoken with agrees that keeping weapons out of the hands of criminals is the right thing to do, and strengthening background checks is a sensible way to do it. The President also recommended looking at reinstituting the ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines that have been all too common in mass shootings. Many of these weapons were intended for the battlefields of war, not our neighborhoods, and I believe we're long overdue to revisit this matter in the halls of Congress.

"Importantly, while these recommendations meet the common sense threshold, they also adhere to the Second Amendment. 

"I was also pleased that today's recommendations acknowledge that stricter gun control isn't the only solution. Helping young people get the mental health treatment they need, making sure cops have the resources they need to prevent gun crimes, and improving school safety must continue to be part of this ongoing conversation.

"At the end of the day, this is an issue where we may not all be of like minds, but it cannot be an excuse for inaction. The challenge before us, both Democrats and Republicans, is to find a way to enact common sense reforms at a time when the American people want and deserve action. My hope is that we can build upon these recommendations, and, over the next several weeks, move forward with a set of reasonable and effective reforms that improve gun safety, protect our communities, and keep our children safe."

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