Sen. Ben Nelson says he hopes a group appointed by President Obama will take a comprehensive look at violence and not just focus on gun control.
The president has appointed an interagency task force to study violence in the United States and make recommendations for legislation to address the issue. Vice President Joe Biden will lead the task force.
Nelson says tough questions have arisen out of the Connecticut shootings which killed 26, including 20 First Graders.
“I don’t know what exactly the answer is to prevent future acts of violence, but it’s clear the status quo is unacceptable to virtually everybody,” Nelson tells reporters during a conference call.
Nelson says he hopes the group will focus on more than just gun control laws.
“At the end of the day, we want solutions and solutions that work,” according to Nelson. “Some people, and I think many people, are worried that the discussions won’t include enough points on mental health and other issues as well.”
Though the group has just been appointed and hasn’t met, the White House has already signaled that it likely will recommend new restrictions on guns and high-capacity magazines. 20-year-old Adam Lanza used a semiautomatic rifle to kill 20 children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Adams killed his mother before driving to the school.
Nelson says he would prefer the group entered discussions without any preconceived ideas.
“What I would prefer is we start with a clean slate and work our way forward as long as we’re not just talking about weapons, we’re talking also about mental health as the president has recommended and others have talked about as well,” Nelson says.
Nelson notes it might be too early to discuss legislation during a week in which the city of Newtown grieves for lost innocence and buries little children.
“It’s a little bit, in my mind, difficult to talk about. I don’t think we’ve laid to rest all the victims, yet.”