The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

January 10, 2013

Biden says consensus emerging on gun safety

— WASHINGTON (AP) — Pledging swift action to curb gun violence, Vice President Joe Biden said he would deliver new policy proposals to President Barack Obama by Tuesday.

Biden said that while he had not finalized his recommendations, a consensus was emerging over banning assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, as well as tightening background checks.

Some of those measures are likely to face opposition from some pro-gun groups, most notably the powerful National Rifle Association. A representative from the NRA was scheduled to meet with Biden Thursday afternoon.

Obama, spurred by the horrific shooting of school children in Newtown, Conn., appointed Biden to lead a task force on preventing gun violence. He set a late January deadline for the group's recommendations, which he pledged to act on swiftly.

The vice president said Thursday that while no recommendations would eliminate all future mass shootings, "there has got to be some common ground, to not solve every problem but diminish the probability."

The NRA, the nation's largest gun-rights group, has blocked gun-control efforts in the past and is opposing any new ones. In the wake of the Newtown shooting, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre rejected efforts to tighten gun laws and instead recommended putting armed guards in all schools as a way to stop another school shooting.

LaPierre will not be attending the White House meeting. Instead, the NRA is sending its top lobbyist, James Baker, who has worked with Biden previously on gun issues.

White House officials recognize it is unlikely the NRA will ever fully support measures Obama is pushing, including an assault weapons ban and limits on high-capacity ammunition magazines. But the administration may need to soften the NRA's opposition if it hopes to rally support from pro-gun lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

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