WASHINGTON Jan 6 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
To sell such changes, the White House is developing
strategies to work around the National Rifle Association, 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
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
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 Republican, said that for the next three months
Washington's debates would center on federal spending and the