Obama to Tap Biden to Oversee Gun-Control Efforts

by Jared Favole, The Wall Street Journal  |  published on December 19, 2012

Biden gun control

President Barack Obama on Wednesday will tap Vice President Joe Biden to spearhead White House efforts to mold new gun and mental health policies following the Newtown shootings, a choice that could prove crucial to getting changes through Congress.

Aides said that Mr. Obama will make the announcement in the White House briefing room. The aides said the president isn’t expected to announce major policy decisions, but will lay out how the administration will move forward on the issue.

Mr. Biden will be at the briefing Wednesday and could be essential to getting any changes through Congress, as he has decades of experience as a senator and is often Mr. Obama’s go-to person when the president seeks to build support on Capitol Hill.

The announcement comes just days after one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history, with 20 children and six adults gunned down at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. The tragedy has sparked a wide-ranging debate on the country’s gun laws, and even strong gun-rights advocates are calling for change.

The White House said Tuesday that Mr. Obama spoke by phone with one staunch gun-rights supporter, Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), who said that he and Mr. Obama “agree that as Americans and parents, all of our children belong to all of us—and we must work together to keep our precious children safe.”

Mr. Manchin said he knows “my friends at the NRA [National Rifle Association] and those who support our Second Amendment rights will participate because I know that their hearts are aching for the families in Newtown, just like all Americans.”

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