News Column

Biden Suggests Executive Action on Guns

January 10, 2013
White House

President Barack Obama may use executive action to help stop U.S. gun violence, Vice President Joe Biden said, as pro-gun groups were to meet with him Thursday.

At the same time, the head of the National Rifle Association said he supported prosecuting criminal gunmen.

"The president is going to act," Biden said in brief remarks to reporters before meeting with victims of gun violence and firearm-safety groups in the first meeting of a national task force on gun control.

"Executive order, executive action that can be taken -- we haven't decided what that is yet," Biden said. "But we're compiling it all with the help of the attorney general and all the rest of the Cabinet members, as well as legislative action we believe is required."

Biden called gun violence "a problem that requires immediate attention" and said, "We're not going to get caught up in the notion that, unless we can do everything, we're going to do nothing."

Obama has promised to push forward a gun-control package that would require congressional approval.

Some analysts suggested unilateral action would infuriate gun advocates, who say gun sales are protected under the Second Amendment and equate gun control with tyranny.

The conservative Drudge Report website illustrated its story about Biden's task force meeting with photos of Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin.

Gun-rights groups announced a "Gun Appreciation Day" Jan. 19, two days before Obama's second inauguration.

An email promoting the day shows a photo of Obama and first lady Michelle Obama leading the 2009 inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, with a cartoonlike speech balloon of the president saying, "Guns make us less safe."

The photo points with red lines to what it says are 12 armed U.S. Secret Service agents surrounding the president and first lady as protection, a United Press International review of the email indicated.

Gun owners' groups, including the NRA, were to meet with Biden and other task force members at 1:45 p.m. Joining Biden from the administration were to be Attorney General Eric Holder, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

NRA President David Keene told BlogTalkRadio's Brooklyn GOP Radio Wednesday he supported prosecuting people who fire a gun during a criminal act.

"Anything that deals with gun crime by prosecuting people who misuse firearms in the commission of a felony is a good idea, and that part's fine," he said.

"But the idea of banning or restricting firearms from perfectly honest, legitimate Americans who have a right to defend themselves as per the Supreme Court and the Second Amendment, have a right to privately own firearms, is both constitutionally suspect and, from a policy standpoint, has been empirically demonstrated over time not to have any impact whatever on violence or crime," he said.

Biden's task force was to meet with advocates for sportsmen and women and wildlife-interest groups at 11:45 a.m., the White House said. The task force was to meet with representatives of the entertainment industry at 6 p.m.

The task force is expected to release a report by the end of the month.

Source: Copyright United Press International 2013

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