News Column

NRA Says Task Force Has Little to Do With Keeping Kids Safe

Jan. 10, 2013

The National Rifle Association (NRA) said Thursday that President Barack Obama's task force to make proposals to curb mass shootings was pushing "failed solutions" to the nation's problems with gun violence.

The NRA issued a statement after one of its representative met with the task force, which Obama formed after the school massacre last month in Newtown, Connecticut.

"We were disappointed with how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the Second Amendment," the NRA said.

The US Constitution's Second Amendment states that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." It is often cited by the NRA and other gun-rights groups as the enshrinement in US basic law of the right to own firearms.

"This task force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners - honest, taxpaying, hardworking Americans," the NRA said. "It is unfortunate that this administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation's most pressing problems."

Obama appointed Vice President Joe Biden to lead the task force, which held its first meeting Wednesday. Biden said Thursday as he opened the second day of the government task force's meetings that he would send the panel's recommendations next week to Obama.

"There has got to be some common ground - to not solve every problem but diminish the probability (of mass shootings). That's what this is all about," Biden said.

Prosecutors, non-governmental organizations and the medical community, including mental health professionals, were among Wednesday's participants. Biden said there was "surprising consensus" on Wednesday to require universal background checks on buyers, even beyond a law to close a loophole that allows some sales at gun shows without a background check. He noted calls to restrict high-capacity magazines.

The Newtown massacre, in which 26 people died including 20 children ages 6-7, followed major shooting sprees last year at a Colorado cinema and a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. The slaughter of young children, however, raised the debate about gun violence in the US to a new level.

A petition started at the website calls on Wal-Mart to stop advertising military-style weapons.

"Assault rifles are weapons of mass murder and should be left for law enforcement and military," the petition says. "Civilians do not need to have any assault weapons in their homes."

It has been signed by more than 110,000 internet users.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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