White House considers broader U.S. gun control: report

WASHINGTON Sun Jan 6, 2013 6:49pm EST

A small portion of guns that were turned in by their owners are stacked inside a truck at a gun buyback held by the Los Angeles Police Department in Los Angeles, California, December 26, 2012 following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. REUTERS/David McNew

A small portion of guns that were turned in by their owners are stacked inside a truck at a gun buyback held by the Los Angeles Police Department in Los Angeles, California, December 26, 2012 following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

Credit: Reuters/David McNew

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House is weighing a far broader approach to curbing U.S. gun violence than just reinstating a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.

A working group led by Vice President Joseph Biden is seriously considering measures that would require universal background checks for gun buyers and track the movement and sale of weapons through a national database, the newspaper said.

The measures would also strengthen mental health checks and stiffen penalties for carrying guns near schools or giving them to minors, the Post said. The approach is backed by law enforcement leaders, it said.

President Barack Obama assigned Biden the job of designing the strategy after the massacre at a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school last month that killed 20 children and six adults.

To sell such changes, the White House is developing strategies to work around the National Rifle Association (NRA), the powerful gun lobby.

They include rallying support from Wal-Mart Stores Inc and other gun retailers for measures that would benefit their businesses, the Post said.


The White House has been in contact with advisers to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a gun control advocate who could emerge as a surrogate for the administration's agenda, the paper said.

The Post cited several people involved in the administration's talks on gun control for its story. They included Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum.

The White House had no immediate comment on the Post story. A White House spokesman told the newspaper that Biden's group was in the middle of its review and had not decided on its final recommendations.

The NRA has successfully lobbied federal lawmakers to stop major new gun restrictions since a 1994 assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004. The ban also prohibited ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds.

When asked if Congress will entertain new gun regulation, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that lawmakers needed to see Biden's recommendations.

"There will be plenty of time to take a look at their recommendations once they come forward," he said.

McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said that for the next three months Washington's debates would center on federal spending and the rising debt.

Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, an NRA member, said on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopolous" that the reported proposals were "way in extreme" and would not pass.

In a statement, New York Democratic Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand urged Biden to include in his proposals measures to prevent trafficking in illegal guns and to make it harder for felons and the mentally ill to get firearms.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson and Roberta Rampton. Editing by Sandra Maler)

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Comments (38)
reality-again wrote:
Sounds good.
This would be a great leadership test for Biden and Obama – If they succeed, future generations will remember their courage and determination, and thank them.

Jan 06, 2013 10:59am EST  --  Report as abuse
tatman wrote:
yesterday, i sold back a 9mm glock pistol to a retailer in my area. i had purchased the weapon a few months back to have in the house and to use for sport (shooting in a range, not hunting), but decided against continuing to be a gun owner after the newtown massacre. i would rather be someone who goes through my entire life never ending the life of another by a bullet. i don’t buy into the victim mentality, and there are plenty of ways to protect oneself other than with a firearm.

the scary thing though, was how many guns were flying off the shelves to frantic buyers stocking up their weapons supply when i stepped into the store. there were so many people purchasing guns, it was like a crowded concert venue — we had to meander and snake our way through hundreds of gun buyers. the salesman working with me even commented: “we’re not buying back guns very much right now — we’re selling them like crazy!”. it made me even more resolute in the voluntary surrendering of my weapon — how the hell could i protect myself in the event i should need to with one pistol, when many of the guns being sold were higher-capacity weapons? if someone were to enter my house with a Bushmaster, my 9mm glock (which i would have had to retrieve from a safe location and load a magazine) would have been useless — i would be mowed down like a duck in a shooting gallery before i could even open the case…

i’ll probably be the only non-gun owner in texas by the time this comment is posted, and surely be the butt of pro-NRA slander/comments as well. but, i’ll rest peacefully knowing that i no longer have a gun in the house. that gives me great reassurance in an odd way…

Jan 06, 2013 11:07am EST  --  Report as abuse
ccharles wrote:
And this will protect the children how?

Gun laws dont correct these problems. Just look at the major citys that have strict No Gun laws… namely chicago and New york, the highest murder rates in the country. These bozos in there now are acting like this is a new problem. Not. When we had Courthouse violence, we stopped it, every, and i mean every Courthouse has security and that effectivly stopped the violence to a large degree. Not arming the judges and prosecutors. How can we do less?

And do it with the ones trained for this work. I appreciate the Marines stepping up, but unless they are vetted by the authoritys im not too cool with that. Police are vetted and vested with the security of the community. Its there job, do it. Instead of shooting radar in the school zone, put an automated system on the street, and the cop at the door.

Jan 06, 2013 11:31am EST  --  Report as abuse
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