Biden, NRA clash over new gun control proposals
BY Associated Press
Friday, January 11, 2013
1/11/13 at 6:41 AM
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Read complete coverage of the issue.Original Print Headline: Biden, NRA clash over gun control issues
WASHINGTON (AP) - Despite fresh opposition from the National Rifle Association, the Obama administration is assembling proposals to curb gun violence that would include a ban on sales of assault weapons, limits on high-capacity ammunition magazines and universal background checks for gun buyers.
Sketching out details of the plan Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden said he would give President Barack Obama a set of recommendations by next Tuesday. The NRA, one of the pro-gun groups that met with Biden during the day, rejected the effort to limit ammunition and dug in on its opposition to an assault weapons ban.
"The vice president made it clear, made it explicitly clear, that the president had already made up his mind on those issues," NRA President David Keene said. "We made it clear that we disagree with them."
Opposition from the well-funded and politically powerful NRA underscores the challenges that await the White House if it seeks congressional approval for limiting guns and ammunition. Obama can use his executive powers to act alone on some gun measures, but his options on the proposals opposed by the NRA are limited without Congress' cooperation.
Obama has pushed reducing gun violence to the top of his domestic agenda following last month's massacre of 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school. The president put Biden in charge of an administration-wide task force and set a late January deadline for proposals.
The vice president later huddled privately with the NRA and other gun owner groups for more than 90 minutes. Participants in the meeting described it as an open and frank discussion, but one that yielded little movement from either side on long-held positions.
White House officials said the vice president didn't expect to win over the NRA and other gun groups on those key issues. But the administration was hoping to soften their opposition in order to rally support from pro-gun lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Biden's proposals are also expected to include recommendations to address mental health care and violence on television and in movies and video games. Those issues have wide support from gun rights groups and pro-gun lawmakers.
Biden also talked about holes in NICS - the National Instant Criminal Background Check System - when states don't relay information to the database used by dealers to check purchasers. Advocates blame Congress for not fully funding a law that provides money to help states send records to the database.
Gun-control backers see plenty of room for executive action when it comes to improving background checks and other areas.
For example, advocates say Obama could order the Justice Department to prosecute more people flagged by background checks as prohibited purchasers when they try to buy guns; expand a rule that requires dealers to notify the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives when someone tries to buy multiple semiautomatic rifles, and increase enforcement actions at gun shows.