A day after signaling his support for a ban on assault weapons and for closing the “gun show loophole,” President Obama will announce the formation of an administration task force to examine further action on gun control in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting. Leading the charge will be Joe Biden, who scores an impressive “F” on the NRA’s scorecard, and was the sponsor and lead negotiator of the Clinton-era assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.
When the bill foundered in the House, Biden persevered. It reached President Clinton’s desk thanks to an unexpected, eleventh-hour push from a “Lost Battalion of Republicans” led by Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware. He’d been swayed during a series of meetings with the House Speaker and other House Republicans, at which Biden was the only Senator in attendance. The resulting legislation banned the manufacture of 19 types of semi-automatic firearms and criminalized the possession of high-capacity magazines.
UPDATE 3:10 pm Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey will sit on President Obama’s task force on gun violence, which will announce its findings and policy recommendations by January. He’ll meet with Biden, who’s leading the effort, later this week. [Inquirer]