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Joe Biden to head White House gun control effort

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Joe Biden to head White House gun control effort

Vice President Joe Biden has been tapped by President Barack Obama to lead the White House's effort to address gun control in the United States.

President Obama announced the effort, which will involve cabinet members and heads of outside organizations, Wednesday.

"This is not some Washington commission," Obama said during a briefing at the White House. "This is a team that has a very specific task: to pull together real reports, right now."

"I will use all the powers of this office to prevent tragedies like this from occurring," Obama said, referring to the Newtown shooting that left 28 people, 20 of them children, dead. "It won't be easy, but that can't be an excuse not to try. I can't do it by myself, though. If this effort is to succeed, it's going to take you, the American people."

Obama said he will submit new proposals to Congress no later than January.

Biden, a long-time advocate of stricter gun policies, will lead the push to craft rules that will reduce gun violence in the country, according to Reuters.

The President did not outline specific policy decisions, but explained that his administration would look for answers to improve access to mental health and tackle the gun culture in the US, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society," Obama said in his address to the nation on Sunday. "But that can't be an excuse for inaction. Surely, we can do better than this."

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting has caused a surge of both public and political support for tighter gun laws.

Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary, said Tuesday that Obama would consider limiting access to high-capacity magazines, and would support the prevention of gun purchases through unlicensed dealers without a background check, according to the WSJ.

Carney added that Obama "actively" supports Senator Dianne Feinstein's proposed assault weapon ban.

The vice president is a logical choice to spearhead the gun control debate: As Delaware senator, he wrote and pushed forward the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which, among other provisions, banned certain classes of individuals from owning firearms, CNN reported. It also banned the manufacture of some semi-automatic weapons.

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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