Politics

January 5, 2013

Biden-led team expands scope of gun-control plan

In Newtown’s wake, the group is looking at universal background checks and a national sales-tracking database as well as strategies for making changes palatable.

By PHILIP RUCKER The Washington Post

(Continued from page 1)

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Vice President Joe Biden is leading a working group that is considering ways to curbing gun violence.

The Associated Press

The White House is also developing strategies to navigate the rocky and emotionally fraught terrain of gun politics once final policy decisions are made. The administration is quietly talking with a diverse array of interest groups, including religious leaders, mental-health professionals and hunters, to build as broad a coalition as possible, those involved in the discussions said.

The president is expected to face fierce opposition from the NRA and its allies in Congress.

But Biden signaled to those involved in the policy discussions that the White House is not afraid of taking on the NRA, the nation’s largest gun rights group. At the Dec. 20 meeting, said Stanek, when one law enforcement leader suggested focusing on only the most popular proposals, Biden replied: “Look, what I’m asking you for is your candid opinion and ideas about extreme gun violence. Leave the politics to the president. That’s our job with Congress.”

NRA officials declined a request for comment. In response to the shooting in Newtown, Wayne LaPierre, the group’s executive vice president, called for installing armed police officers in every school.

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” LaPierre said at a news conference Dec. 21.

One potential strategy would be to win support for specific measures from interest groups that are normally aligned with the NRA, according to one person who works closely with the administration on gun-related issues and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity.

For instance, this person suggested, Walmart and other major gun retailers may have an incentive to support closing a loophole that allows people to bypass background checks if they purchase firearms at gun shows or through other types of private sales. That could result in more people buying guns in retail stores.
 

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