Obama sets January deadline for gun recommendations

President Obama
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President Obama has set a January deadline for gun recommendations and says he'll push them without delay. The president spoke in a televised address at noon Wednesday.

Obama is asking a team led by Vice President Joe Biden to offer "concrete proposals" to curb gun violence no later than January, in the aftermath of the horrific massacre at a Connecticut elementary school.

Obama says after he receives recommendations from Biden's group, he will push legislation "without delay." The president is urging Congress to hold votes on the bill.

Obama says the issue is complex but "we have a deep obligation - all of us - to try."

Biden, a longtime gun control advocate, will lead a team that will include members of Obama's administration and outside groups.

The move comes after Friday's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. Twenty children and six adults were killed at the school by a gunman wielding a semi-automatic rifle.

Obama spoke of the tradition of gun ownership in the United States and said the vast majority of gun owners were law-abiding citizens. He also said that he expected many in that group would agree more can be done to prevent those with violent or criminal intent from obtaining weapons.

Admitting it was a complex issue that generates strong emotions on all sides of the debate, he said, "It won't be easy, but that can't be an excuse not to try."

He also addressed the lack of easy access to mental health support, saying the United States needs to make access to mental health care "at least as easy as access to a gun."

He added that the first actions "must be taken inside our home and inside our hearts."

"The fact that this problem is complex is no longer an excuse for doing nothing," the president said.