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Vice President Biden suggested Wednesday that the White House could take unilateral action on gun control, as he kicked off a round of meetings aimed at finding ways to curb gun violence.
The vice president met Wednesday with gun-safety and victims groups, saying he is “determined” to take “urgent action” to address gun violence.
“This is not an exercise in photo opportunities or just getting to ask you all what your opinions are. We are vitally interested in what you have to say,” Biden said.
The White House has sought to avoid prejudging what Biden’s recommendations would be. But the vice president hinted Wednesday that executive action — action by the president in which Congress would not have a say — would indeed be involved.
“Executive action … can be taken,” Biden said, adding “we haven’t decided what that is yet.”
He also said separate legislative action would be “required.”
Among the gun-advocacy groups attending the meeting Wednesday were Arizona for Gun Safety, the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence, the Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus and Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
It’s unclear how the meeting Thursday will be structured. The NRA told Fox News that they are sending a representative to hear what the White House has to say. Carney, though, said the task force is “designed to get input” from others.
“Then the vice president’s group will assess different actions,” Carney said.
The Washington Post reported over the weekend that President Obama was considering measures beyond reinstating a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. According to the paper, the task force is considering measures like universal background checks for gun buyers, a national gun database, strengthening mental-health checks and tougher penalties for people carrying guns near schools or giving them to minors.
Asked Monday about the report, Carney reiterated that Obama wants to “close the many loopholes in our background check system” and “supports congressional actions right away.”
Accelerated efforts to draft new gun control measures have alarmed gun rights groups, including the NRA, at the national and local levels. A separate last-minute effort to craft a restrictive semi-automatic weapon ban in Illinois was put on hold amid a tight deadline and intense opposition. On Capitol Hill, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein is again pushing a renewal of the federal assault-weapons ban.
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