Vice President Biden is meeting with the National Rifle Association today, a day after claiming the White House could use “executive orders” to deal with gun control. The meeting is the latest in a string of sit-downs aimed at finding ways to curb gun violence, but could become heated in the wake of Wednesday’s comments.
After meetings with gun-safety and victims groups Wednesday, the vice president said 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.
“There are executive orders, executive action that can be taken,” Biden said, adding “we haven’t decided what that is yet.”
He also said separate legislative action would be “required.”
The vice president spoke out as he prepared to hear from the other side of the gun-control debate today, when the nation’s leading gun lobby will meet face to face with his task force in what could be a testy session. The National Rifle Association confirmed to Fox News that the group accepted an invitation to meet with the task force, which is running up against an end-of-the-month deadline to produce a set of proposals.
The NRA has been at the helm of fighting those proposals ever since the group broke its post-Connecticut silence and called for a national school security plan to install armed officers at every school in the country.
The White House and the NRA have found little common ground as the two groups craft separate responses to the tragedy.
Gun-advocacy groups including Arizona for Gun Safety, the Brady Campaign, the Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus and Mayors Against Illegal Guns attended the meeting with Biden Wednesday.
Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, after the meeting affirmed that administration officials “talked about … their willingness to use executive action where that’s appropriate.”
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.”
The White House said other meetings are also scheduled with community organizations, business owners and religious leaders.