Seeking to spur fresh action on gun legislation, Vice President Biden
is scheduled to meet Wednesday with victims groups and gun-safety
The meeting is to be part of a series of
gatherings Biden is conducting this week at the White House aimed at
building a 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 of the video-game and entertainment industries are also planned.
Obama wants Biden to report back to him with policy proposals by the
end of the month. Mr. 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.
as the shock and sorrow over the Newtown, Conn., shooting fade, the
tough fight facing the White House and gun-control backers is growing
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
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. The president
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
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 Mr. Obama's second inauguration.
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.
legislature was to return to work Wednesday, nearly four weeks after
the Sandy Hook school shootings. Its first order of business, reports
CBS News correspondent Bill Plante - debating strict new gun laws.
marked the second anniversary of the rampage that wounded now former
Ariz. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. She and her husband, former astronaut
Mark Kelly, took the occasion to announce they had formed a political action committee
to prevent gun violence and bring changes to laws, such as requiring
comprehensive background check for firearms sales. They wrote in USA
Today that they intend tol raise funds to fight the influence of the gun
Giffords' announcement about her foray into the
gun control debate brought back memories from the 1980s, when Jim and
Sarah Brady formed the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Brady,
then-President Ronald Reagan's press secretary, was wounded in the 1981
presidential assassination attempt by a mentally ill gunman.
organization has been among the most vocal champions of gun control
since then, but it remains to be seen whether Giffords' group can better
compete against the National Rifle Association and its huge fundraising
and political clout.
The NRA spent at least $24 million
in the 2012 election cycle, including $16.8 million through its
political action committee and $7.5 million through its affiliated
Institute for Legislative Action. By comparison, the Brady Campaign
spent around $5,800.
And when it comes to direct lobbying
of lawmakers, the NRA was also dominant. Through July 1, the NRA spent
$4.4 million to lobby Congress, compared with the Brady Campaign's
Mr. Obama wants Congress to reinstate a ban on
military-style assault weapons, close loopholes that enable gun buyers
to skirt background checks and restrict high-capacity magazines.
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.
of those steps could be taken through executive action, without the
approval of Congress. White House officials say Mr. Obama will not
finalize any actions until receiving Biden's recommendations.
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.
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.