Gun Violence: Biden Will Propose Improved Background Checks
(WASHINGTON) — Vice President Biden, meeting Thursday with outside groups on gun safety, told reporters he has already started putting together a list of recommendations that he plans to issue next Tuesday.
Biden meets with representatives of the NRA and other supporters of gun rights on the second day of this week’s meetings on gun violence.
But he told reporters Thursday, during meeting a with sportsmen, women and wildlife groups, that he would deliver the list of recommendations to the president on Jan. 15, and that an improved system for background checks has emerged as a priority for the stakeholders he’s met so far.
Biden told a group of sportsmen and wildlife interest groups that he has “never quite heard so much talk about high-capacity magazines” as he has since last month’s mass shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Biden met with gun-violence victims’ groups and proponents of gun control on Wednesday. Thursday was his opportunity to get a different side of the story. Biden meets with the National Rifle Association and Attorney General Eric Holder meets with representatives from Wal-Mart, one of the largest sellers of firearms in the country.
Spokesmen for the NRA and Wal-Mart confirmed representatives from their organizations would be included in the meetings Thursday. The NRA said it would be represented by James J. Baker, its top lobbyist. Advocates for sportsmen, women’s groups, wildlife groups and gun owners were also invited. The vice president is slated to meet with members of the entertainment industry in the evening.
In December, the NRA called for armed officers to be placed in every school after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
Wal-Mart initially turned down an invitation to participate in the talks but reversed its decision after it “underestimated the expectation to attend the meeting on Thursday in person,” a spokesman said.
“We take this issue very seriously and are committed staying engaged in this discussion as the administration and Congress work toward a consensus on the right path forward,” David Tovar, vice president of corporate communications for Wal-Mart, said.
The latest meetings come one day after Biden held a first round of talks this week with gun safety advocacy groups and victims of gun violence. Speaking to reporters before the meeting, the vice president expressed the administration’s commitment to develop effective gun policy by considering all ideas. He suggested the administration would be ready to take executive action on the issue, which would not require votes from Congress.
Biden held conference calls with 15 governors and 16 state and local elected officials Wednesday.
Shortly after the shootings in which 26 children and educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary last month, President Obama assigned Biden to head a task force and offer suggestions on curbing gun violence.
“Every once in a while there’s something that awakens the conscience of the country, and that tragic event did in a way like nothing I’ve seen in my career,” Biden said Wednesday.
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