Biden: Gun recommendations by next week

Jan. 10, 2013 at 5:06 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday the gun violence task force he heads will make recommendations next week on how to deal with the issue.

As the task force prepared for meetings in Washington with three more groups of stakeholders -- including the National Rifle Association, entertainment and video game industry executives and sport shooting and wildlife advocates -- Biden told reporters he has reached no conclusions but said he would have recommendations for President Barack Obama by Tuesday.

Biden said he would focus primarily on recommendations "that relate primarily to gun ownership, and the type of weapons we own. And one is there is a surprising -- so far -- a surprising recurrence of suggestions that we have universal background checks, not just close the gun show loophole but totally universal background checks including private sales."

He said participants have urged restricting availability of high capacity ammunition magazines.

"And the last area, which is an area that has come up, has to do with the ability of any agency to do any research on the issue of gun violence," Biden said, noting that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has been prohibited by federal law since 2004 from collecting information on injuries associated with gunshot wounds.

He said information should be collected on "what kind of weapons are used most to kill people" and "what kind of weapons are trafficked weapons."

"There has got to be some common ground, to not solve every problem but diminish the probability" of future mass shootings, Biden said, one day after suggesting Obama might use executive action if Congress takes no action on gun violence.

The NRA issued a statement following its meeting with the task force saying the organization is "disappointed with how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the Second Amendment.

"While claiming that no policy proposals would be 'prejudged,' this Task Force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners -- honest, taxpaying, hardworking Americans," the statement said.

"It is unfortunate that this administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation's most pressing problems," the NRA said. "We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen. Instead, we will now take our commitment and meaningful contributions to members of Congress of both parties who are interested in having an honest conversation about what works -- and what does not."

NRA President David Keene told BlogTalkRadio's Brooklyn GOP Radio Wednesday he supported prosecuting people who fire a gun during a criminal act but opposed restricting firearms for "legitimate Americans."

"Anything that deals with gun crime by prosecuting people who misuse firearms in the commission of a felony is a good idea, and that part's fine," he said. "But the idea of banning or restricting firearms from perfectly honest, legitimate Americans who have a right to defend themselves as per the Supreme Court and the Second Amendment, have a right to privately own firearms, is both constitutionally suspect and, from a policy standpoint, has been empirically demonstrated over time not to have any impact whatever on violence or crime."

Biden said his meeting Wednesday with representatives from numerous religious groups convinced him there is "an overwhelming consensus" that the gun issue has "a significant moral dimension."

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar also participated in Thursday's task force meeting.

Gun-rights groups announced a "Gun Appreciation Day" Jan. 19, two days before Obama's second inauguration.

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