January 12, 2013

Group: Biden offers to speak with Newtown families

The Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. — U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who is leading an administration review of gun safety laws, has offered to talk with any families of the Connecticut elementary school shooting victims who would like to speak with personally, a support group said Saturday.

The group, Sandy Hook Promise, has been working to help the families whose loved ones were killed in the Dec. 14 massacre of 20 first-graders and six women at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown. It said in an email to the families that it could arrange a call or put the families in touch directly with Biden's office.

"If you choose to wait a few weeks, or months, the offer is still there," the group wrote.

White House officials have said they are communicating with local groups and the families in Newtown.

"We remain in touch with families from Newtown and will present an opportunity for all of them to share their views before the president makes any decisions," White House spokesman Matt Lehrich said.

President Barack Obama pushed reducing gun violence to the top of his domestic agenda following the shooting in Newtown. Obama put Biden in charge of an administration task force and set a late January deadline for proposals.

Sandy Hook Promise co-founder Tim Makris said it passed along Biden's offer as part of its mission to aid the families.

The group, which recently changed its name from Newtown United, is holding a news conference on Monday to announce its own initiative in response to the shooting.

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