Leave a comment

WASHINGTON (AP) — Less than a month after a horrific elementary school shooting, the White House is fighting to keep the momentum for new gun legislation amid signs it’s losing ground in Congress to other pressing issues.

Vice President Joe Biden has invited the National Rifle Association and other gun-owner groups for talks at the White House on Thursday. On Wednesday, the vice president will meet with victims’ organizations and representatives from the video game and entertainment industries. The administration’s goal is to forge consensus over proposals to curb gun violence.

President Barack Obama wants Biden to report back to him with policy proposals by the end of January. 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 on Tuesday.

But as the shock and sorrow over the Newtown, Conn., shooting fades, the tough fight facing the White House and gun-control backers is growing clearer. Gun-rights advocates, including the powerful NRA, are digging in against tighter legislation, conservative groups are launching pro-gun initiatives and the Senate’s top Republican has warned it could be spring before Capitol Hill begins considering any gun legislation.

“The biggest problem we have at the moment is spending and debt,” Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on 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 three months.”

Tuesday marked the second anniversary of the Tucson, Ariz., attack that killed six people and critically injured former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Following that shooting, Obama called for a national dialogue on gun violence. But his words were followed by little action.

Giffords took a prominent role in the gun debate on Tuesday’s anniversary. She and husband Mark Kelly, a former astronaut, wrote in an op-ed published in USA Today that their Americans for Responsible Solutions initiative would help raise money to support greater gun control efforts “to balance the influence of the gun lobby.” Kelly has indicated that he and Giffords want to become a prominent voice for gun control and hope to start a national conversation about gun violence.

There was also little national progress on curbing gun bloodshed following shootings at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater, a Texas Army base or a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, all of which occurred during Obama’s first term.

Still, the killing of 6- and 7-year-olds at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14 did appear to stir a deeper reaction from the White House and Capitol Hill. Obama 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 new measures.

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 Obama’s inauguration.

The 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.

Obama wants 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. Other 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.

Some of those steps could be taken through executive action, without the approval of Congress. White House officials say Obama will not finalize any actions until receiving Biden’s recommendations.

Gun-rights lawmakers and outside groups have also 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.

“It 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.

(Photo: AP)

We Pray for the Victims of the Conn. School Shooting
11 photos

3 thoughts on “White House Tries to Keep Momentum on Gun Control

  1. Blackman4gunrights on said:

    sorry — correction on my last comment. When I wrote decades I ment centry. 🙂 what has happened over the last 10 years is nothing compaired to what has happened over the last 100 years and mabey even longer than that. As soon as the constitution was drafted power hungry politicians have been trying to get around the rules that are ment to keep them in check.

  2. Blackman4gunrights on said:

    Imagin that you are living in a nation that has a total gun ban. But you had keeped your handgun from when you use to still have it. You are at home and you hear your glass break downstairs. You go down the stairs and you see two figures in your living room. You tell them to stop. You see that one of them has a crowbar and he raises it. They start moving towards you. You aim your gun and you shoot the one with the crowbar in the chest. Then you shoot the other one in the side. The one who is shot in the side escapes. The one who was shoot in the chest died on your floor. The one who escaped gets to a hospital. When you call the police they come and arrest you for murder and possesion of a gun. The media speaks of how you robbed a man of his life and paints the survivor as a hero. You on the other hand are givin a life sentence.
    Does this sound made up. If you think so it is because you are an American and you have experience freedom all your life. You don’t know what it is like to life in a country that controls your every move.
    This happened in the United Kingdom. The man went to prison for life for doing what comes natural to any man. And that is to protect his family.
    We must keep our constitution intact. The constitution was put in place to govern those who govern us. Originally the government was suppose to be servants to the people. But over the last decade they have worked to change that relationship from servants to rulers.

  3. A people with guns are citizens. A people without guns are subjects.

    The real issue is mental illness access to help. It is violence shown to children while they are developing throught music, movies, and video games. It is a continue push to cause our children to stay away from God and to seek out instant gratification. Which like any drug when you come down you come down hard.

    They want to ban so called assault rifles, high capacity mags and force a registration program. saying that it is in response in the shootings at sandy brook. The shooter used pistols no the so called assualt rifle.

    I think the government is more afraid of decent americans having weapons because they know they are screwing us and they don’t feel safe if we are armed. If the government actually did their job instead figuring out how to fleece america they would have nothing to fear.

    And for those who don’t understand why the NRA is against this ban I will tell you. It is because the people that are for gun bans and want to take away your right as a American to have one are incrementalist. Which means they will take your right away a little at a time. Yesterday it was machine guns. Today it is semi–auto rifles. Tomorrow it will be hand guns. Then hunting rifles. And yes the criminals will still have the guns. Just now you will not be able to protect your family.

Add Your Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s