JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Standing at a podium, five days after the murder of 20 children and six faculty members at Sandy Hook Elementary School, President Obama made reform of the nation’s gun laws a top priority.
"This should be a wake-up call for all of us,” he said. “I will use all the powers of this office to help advance efforts aimed at preventing more tragedies like this. We won't prevent them all, but that can't be an excuse not to try."
The president announced he’s set up a gun violence task force to be led by Vice President Joe Biden. He also said he wants concrete proposals from them no later than January.
"This is a team that has a very specific task to pull together real reforms right now,” he said.
But not everyone believes there’s a need for real reform.
"I don't feel that it's the guns that are killing people, but it's the person behind the gun,” said local gun owner Damien Compo.
"If you use it properly and you use it in the right way, it shouldn't be a problem,” said local gun owner Andrew Cabauatan.
The president indicated that a ban on assault weapons, which he called "weapons of war," is something he supports as well as a limit on high-capacity ammunition clips and more stringent background checks. But he cautioned that "no law or set of laws" can prevent all violence.
Ed Tompkins, manager of Shooters of America, fears the legislation will be similar to the assault weapons ban in 1994.
"When you have politicians that write gun laws that don't know anything about guns, you get type of legislation like that,” said Tompkins.
President Obama said the task force will submit their recommendations to him by January. He will then put forth specific proposals, which he said he’ll discuss in his State of the Union address. He’s urging Congress to then vote on these measures early next year.