Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Joe Lieberman (ID-CT), John McCain (R-AZ), and Susan Collins (R-ME) sent a letter to Vice President Joseph Biden urging that when he submits the conclusions of his task force on gun violence to the President and Congress in January, he recommend the establishment of a National Commission Violence. The senators also transmitted a draft bill describing their proposal for such a commission. The text of the letter follows:
December 27, 2012
The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. Vice President,
As you begin your important work heading a task force on the violence that has plagued American life in recent years, ranging from the senseless murders that occur on any given day to such unspeakable atrocities as occurred in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012, we write to respectfully urge that you consider including in your recommendations the establishment of a National Commission on Violence.
Several of us first made this proposal in the wake of the mass shooting at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, when we concluded our nation needs a fuller understanding of why so many of our young people are turning into killers and how to end this recurring nightmare. We believe that the root causes of this violence are complex and that responding to and preventing it will require a comprehensive approach that leaves no stone unturned.
For example, if we are to act in a comprehensive manner that strengthens the mental health care system, improves law enforcement, results in healthier and happier families, keeps guns out of the hands of those who would do ill with them, and addresses an entertainment culture that too often glorifies violence, it will be essential to build a consensus grounded in facts. The recommendations of a National Commission on Violence could provide the basis for such a consensus.
We have drafted a bill establishing a National Commission on Violence, which is attached to this letter. As you go about your work in the coming weeks, we respectfully urge you to consider this proposal and include it in your recommendations to the President and Congress next year.
Joe Lieberman, US Senator
John McCain, US Senator
Joe Manchin, US Senator
Susan Collins, US Senator