* Biden to convene first meeting of gun task force
* More 6-year-old victims to be buried
* Time for "seismic change" in gun policies -Sen. Blumenthal
By Edith Honan
NEWTOWN, Conn., Dec 20 Even as they buried more
victims of the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history
on Thursday, residents of Newtown, Connecticut, looked for ways
to pressure national leaders to restrict access to weapons.
Funerals were scheduled for half-dozen people, some as young
as 6 years old, who were shot and killed on Friday by a heavily
armed 20-year-old man who attacked an elementary school with an
The Dec. 14 rampage, in which 28 people were killed
including 20 children and the gunman, has sparked new discussion
on tightening the nation's gun laws, a thorny political issue in
the United States, which has a strong culture of individual gun
Vice President Joe Biden plans to convene on Thursday the
first meeting of a new White House task force charged by
President Barack Obama with drawing up a plan to tackle gun
violence in the United States.
The powerful firearms lobby, the National Rifle Association,
which has long resisted any effort to restrict gun ownership,
signaled this week it may be ready to bend. It said it would
offer "meaningful contributions" to prevent future such
massacres at an event in Washington on Friday.
In Newtown, a few dozen residents met at the town library on
Wednesday night to discuss ways they could influence the
national debate. Senator Richard Blumenthal told the group it
was time for a "seismic change" in gun policies.
"This horrific tragedy has changed America, in the way that
it is ready to stop the spread of gun violence," Blumenthal
The shooter, Adam Lanza, used guns that were legally
purchased and registered to his mother Nancy, his first victim,
in Friday's attack.
A funeral home outside Connecticut plans to claim her body,
The New Haven Register reported, citing Connecticut's chief
medical examiner, Dr. H. Wayne Carver II. Lanza's brother is a
retired police official from New Hampshire.
Speaking at the town library meeting, Connecticut
Senator-elect Chris Murphy urged the participants to use the
formerly quiet suburb's time in the national spotlight to
pressure his future colleagues in Washington to act.
"The most important thing is to build a movement here, to
build a network," Murphy told the group, Newtown United. Both
Murphy and Blumenthal are Democrats.
U.S. lawmakers are already taking steps to restrict access
to the deadliest weapons. Democrats in the House of
Representatives on Wednesday began to push for a vote on a bill
that would ban high-capacity ammunition clips that allow a
shooter wielding an assault rifle to spray dozens of bullets
without pausing to reload.
The backlash against guns has not been limited to lawmakers.
Retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc took down an
informational website about Bushmaster rifles, the sort used in
the attack. Dick's Sporting Goods pulled all guns from
its store closest to the massacre in Newtown, about 80 miles
(130 km) northeast of New York City.
Private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP this week
said it would sell the Freedom Group, the largest U.S.
manufacturer of firearms, which produced the Bushmaster
AR-15-type rifle used in the attack.
Officials from states including Massachusetts, Rhode Island,
New York and California have begun a review of their investments
in firearms manufacturers.