Jan 17 2013, 3:00pm CST | by Jeffrey B. Roth
On Wednesday, VP Joe Biden opened the press conference about gun violence by first offering his condolences to the families and friends and colleagues of the people who were murdered at the Sandy Hook Elementary School a little more than a month ago.
“No one can know for certain if this senseless act could have been prevented, but we all know we have a moral obligation – a moral obligation – to do everything in our power to diminish the prospect that something like this could happen again,” Biden said. “as the President knows, I work in this field for a long time – in the United States Senate, having chaired a committee that had jurisdiction over these issues of guns and crime, and having drafted the first gun violence legislation – the last gun violence legislation, I should say. But I have also seen the nation's conscience so shaken by what happened at Sandy Hook. The world has changed, and it's demanding action.”
President Obama told reporters that even though reducing gun violence is a complicated challenge, “protecting our children from harm shouldn't be a divisive one.” The Newtown, Conn., tragedy spurred many letters to the White House from many sources, some even unexpected.
“In particular, I started getting a lot of letters from kids,” the President said. “For them are here today – Grant Fritz, Julia Stokes, Hinna Zeejah and Teja Goode. They're pretty representative of some of the messages that I got. These are some pretty smart letters from some pretty smart young people.”
All of them wrote that they believe it was time to make changes in the gun laws, Obama said. The letters, he added demonstrate what is on the minds of many young people as a result of the school shooting.
“This is what they're thinking about. And so what we should be thinking about is our responsibility to care for them, and shield them from harm, and give them the tools they need to grow up and do everything that they're capable of doing – not just to pursue their own dreams, to help build this country. This is our first task as a society, keeping our children safe. This is how we will be judged. And their voices should compel us to change.”
Obama listed a number points that will be the focus of meetings to put together a workable gun violence proposal. Congress, he said, needs to help, rather than hinder, law enforcement as it does its job. There needs to be tougher penalties for people who buy guns with the purpose of turning around and selling them to criminals.
Jeffrey B. Roth
A multi-award winning writer, Jeffrey B. Roth is a well-known investigative reporter, who covers crime, law, politics, sciences, business, medicine, education, history and a wide range of other topics. In 2010, Roth won first place for a new series in the Keystone Press Awards, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association. A published short story writer and poet, Roth is listed in the Locus Index of Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors. Currently, Roth writes for CBS Philadelphia, CBS Baltimore, the Philadelphia Examiner and regional publications, including Carroll Magazine, Carroll Business Quarterly and Hagerstown Magazine to name a few. In the past, Roth, a former crisis intervention counselor and teacher, has written for numerous Pennsylvania newspapers, state and national magazines and the Associated Press. He lives in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, west of Gettysburg, Pa.
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