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Biden meeting with gun safety, victims groups

By JULIE PACE | Associated Press
January 9, 2013

Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama
(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Seeking to spur fresh action on gun legislation, Vice President Joe Biden is meeting at the White House with victims groups and gun-safety organizations.

Wednesday’s meeting is to be part of a series of gatherings Biden is conducting this week at the White House, aimed at building consensus around proposals to curb gun violence following the horrific elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn. The vice president will meet Thursday with the National Rifle Association and other gun-owner groups. Meetings with representatives from the video-game and entertainment industries are also planned.

President Barack Obama wants Biden to report back to him with policy proposals by the end of the month. Obama has vowed to move swiftly on the recommendations, a package expected to include both legislative proposals and executive action.

“He is mindful of the need to act,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday.

But as the shock and sorrow over the Newtown, Conn., shooting fade, the tough fight facing the White House and gun-control backers is growing clearer. Gun-rights advocates, including the powerful NRA, are digging in against tighter gun restrictions, conservative groups are launching pro-gun initiatives, and the Senate’s top Republican has warned it could be spring before Congress begins considering any gun legislation.

“The biggest problem we have at the moment is spending and debt,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said Sunday. “That’s going to dominate the Congress between now and the end of March. None of these issues will have the kind of priority as spending and debt over the next two or three months.”

The killing of 6- and 7-year-olds at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14 appeared to stir a deep reaction from the White House and Capitol Hill. Obama pushed gun control to the top of his domestic agenda for the first time and pledged to put the full weight of his presidency behind the issue. And some Republican and conservative lawmakers with strong gun-rights records also took the extraordinary step of calling for a discussion on new measures.

But other gun-rights advocates have shown less flexibility. The NRA has rejected stricter gun legislation and suggested instead that the government put armed guards in every school in America as a way to curb violence. A coalition of conservative groups is also organizing a “Gun Appreciation Day” later this month, to coincide with Obama’s inauguration.

The president hopes to announce his administration’s next steps to tackle gun violence shortly after he is sworn in for a second term on Jan. 21.

Obama wants Congress to reinstate a ban on military-style assault weapons, close loopholes that allow gun buyers to skirt background checks and restrict high-capacity magazines. Other recommendations to the Biden group include making gun-trafficking a felony, getting the Justice Department to prosecute people caught lying on gun background-check forms and ordering federal agencies to send data to the National Gun Background Check Database.

Some of those steps could be taken through executive action, without the approval of Congress. White House officials say Obama will not finalize any actions until receiving Biden’s recommendations.

Gun-rights lawmakers and outside groups have insisted that any policy response to the Newtown shooting also include an examination of mental health policies and the impact of violent movies and video games. To those people, the White House has pledged a comprehensive response.

“It is not a problem that can be solved by any specific action or single action that the government might take,” Carney said. “It’s a problem that encompasses issues of mental health, of education, as well as access to guns.”

In addition to Biden’s meetings this week, Education Secretary Arne Duncan will meet with parent and teacher groups, while Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will meet with mental health and disability advocates.

The White House said other meetings are also scheduled with community organizations, business owners and religious leaders.

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Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press

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3 Responses to Biden meeting with gun safety, victims groups

  1. Sandy Price

    January 9, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    I hope many here have been watching MSNBC’s Ed’s Show this evening. He had a Utah public school teacher who wants to be licensed to carry a gun in her classes. She could not explain why. That right there is the reason I would not allow a child or grand child of mine to attend a school that allowed a teacher have a concealed weapon in the classroom.

    This attitude might end up dividing the school classrooms into schools who have teachers with guns and teachers without guns.

    The State of California has earthquakes all along the coastline and the teachers do training classes on how to duck and protect themselves within the classroom just as we did during the classrooms in preparation of airplanes dropping bombs.

    Classrooms are for teaching academics and if the NRA continues to promote guns, I can see a whole new education system based on “no-gun” schools in many districts. This may be the issue that divides entire school districts and the issue of academics over arms could work out to the advantage of better academics in the long run.

    In the private school where my kids attended their lower grades, the school opened an office for The Red Cross to take on the training of the administrators and teachers on earthquake safety. Being a private school allowed this to be developed.

    It put the parents in charge of this addition to the curriculum. I would never allow some Mormon teacher to be armed in any school of my choice. Those teachers are not trained to teach academics but focus on some out-of-space wierdo named Moroni to establish some stuff that is not to my liking.

    America is becoming a strange nation with laws that come from stories written by Evangelicals. The only way to get out of this silly business is to return to the separation of church and state and do it before the teachers take aim at the students.

  2. Carl Nemo **==

    January 10, 2013 at 12:25 am

    People don’t seem to understand the root cause of our societal violence; I.E., the aggrandification of such behavior via violent video games, tv programming, movies of the same stripe along with a nation obsessed with the tools of such; I.E., guns and the violence associated with such via our post WWII ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy Empire’ mindset, once a Republic founded under the principles of freedom, justice and the pursuit of happiness provided for all under the Constitution, now simply a memory past.

    We’ve become a retrograde, degenerate among nations of the earth, no longer an example for that which is good and just. Our sorry butt hyprocritical leadership passively supported by a media hypnotized citizenry attests to such.

    Our leaders are corrupt and so too its citizens of the same stripe who are now seemingly getting their just desserts in terms of their obsession with violence on both a national and personal entertainment level. They’ve allowed this evil wind to be sown and so too shall reap the mighty whirlwind of their demise as a nation. We’re in the sweephand mode to the midnight of our destruction. Believe it…! : |

    Carl Nemo **==

  3. Bill Cravener

    January 10, 2013 at 4:24 am

    300 million guns owned by perhaps 35% of the population isn’t gun rights, no, its gun insanity.

    Believe it!!