Gun policy: Rep. Ed Perlmutter appointed vice chair on national violence prevention task force
In the contentious debates on gun policy that are likely to remain at the forefront of national politics in the coming months, Colorado is an important player given its history of tragic mass shootings. And on one national task force dedicated to reducing gun violence, U.S. Representative Ed Perlmutter, who has represented both Aurora and the area around Columbine High School, will be a vice chair, he announced today.
This news further cements that Colorado's elected officials are likely to be influential in the anticipated gun control fights.
Perlmutter, a Democrat, was one of the first local politicians to make headlines around gun policy in the immediate aftermath of the July 20 Aurora theater shooting that left twelve dead and dozens more injured.
He said then that the time has come to reinstate the assault weapons ban -- a move which he is expected to follow through on this month.
Meanwhile, Congresswoman Diana DeGette, a Democrat who represents Denver, has already introduced a bill to ban high-capacity assault magazines, which she tried, unsuccessfully, to get to a vote last month in the final days of the 112th Congress.
Today, Perlmutter was appointed as one of twelve vice chairs to serve on the so-called House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, which will hold a number of meetings and hearings over the next month before releasing a "comprehensive set of policy proposals" in early February. President Obama, in his boldest move yet on gun control, has also convened a task force to be headed by Vice President Joe Biden.
Perlmutter is the only vice chair from Colorado on the task force.
"It's a big responsibility," says Leslie Oliver, spokeswoman and policy director for Perlmutter. "And it is an indication that this is a serious issue that's a priority for the country right now. And Ed is ready, willing and able to step up and be a part of the conversation...trying to advance crime control and gun safety measures in an appropriate and responsible way."
While Perlmutter had initially intended to introduce the assault weapons ban on day one of the new Congress, Oliver says that they were now waiting to introduce it simultaneously with the Senate -- a move that will happen some time in January, she says.
Continue for more on the task force and the full list of appointed vice chairs.