The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

January 8, 2013

White House ramping up gun violence discussions

(Continued)

"There will be plenty of time to take a look at their recommendations once they come forward," McConnell said of Biden's upcoming proposals during an interview Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

Obama aides say the president still plans to act quickly on Biden's proposals. They worry that as the shock of the Newtown shooting fades, so, too, will the prospects that pro-gun lawmakers will work with the White House to tighten restrictions.

"I believe most Americans would disagree with the idea that in the wake of what happened in Newtown, Conn., that we should put off any action on the issue of gun violence," White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday in response to McConnell's comments. "It's certainly not a sentiment the president supports."

Biden's recommendations are likely to include proposals for legislation, as well as executive action Obama can sign into law without lawmakers' approval.

The president already has called on 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. While the president may consider additional gun control measures, he also has ordered his administration to examine ways to improve mental health coverage and consider cultural issues like violence in video games and movies.

Pro-gun lawmakers on Capitol Hill have said any comprehensive effort to respond to the Newtown shooting must include more than just tighter gun control.

In addition to Biden's meetings this week, Education Secretary Arne Duncan will meet this week 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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