The Obama administration is making a big push this week to gather ideas for a comprehensive plan to curb gun violence, amid reports that the Vice President Biden-led task force is homing in on a host of gun control measures.
Biden plans to meet Wednesday with gun safety organizations and gun violence victims’ groups. The next day, he plans to meet with gun ownership groups as well as advocates for sportsmen.
Biden has also scheduled a meeting with representatives from the entertainment and video game industries.
The administration has vowed, by the end of the month, to produce a comprehensive plan for addressing gun violence in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting massacre in which 20 children and six adults were killed. The administration says mental health and the entertainment industry also may be examined.
But much of the discussion, and proposals from Democratic members of Congress, continue to center around gun control.
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, White House Press Secretary Jay 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.
But Congress is also slammed with a pressing set of deadlines regarding a host of fiscal issues — the debt ceiling, automatic spending cuts and the federal budget itself.
The president already has called on 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. While the president may consider additional gun control measures, he also has ordered his administration to examine ways to improve mental health coverage and consider cultural issues like violence in video games and movies.
The White House said other meetings are also scheduled with community organizations, business owners and religious leaders.