The National Rifle Association panned the White House’s gun violence initiative after meeting with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Thursday, just days before Biden plans to present a set of proposals to President Barack Obama.
“We attended today’s White House meeting to discuss how to keep our children safe and were prepared to have a meaningful conversation about school safety, mental health issues, the marketing of violence to our kids and the collapse of federal prosecutions of violent criminals,” the gun owners rights group said in a statement.
“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. While claiming that no policy proposals would be ‘prejudged,’ this Task Force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners - honest, taxpaying, hardworking Americans,” the group said.
The NRA said it would instead take its proposals on dealing with the issue to Congress.
Biden, earlier Thursday, told sports shooting groups he would send his recommendations on preventing gun violence to Obama by Jan. 15, according to a White House pool report.
Biden mentioned several measures that he said he has heard supported repeatedly — universal background checks, limits on high capacity magazines, and the government’s ability to do research on gun violence. Biden clarified that background checks would go beyond closing the so-called gun show loophole.
He compared the current limits on federal data gathering with the 1970s restrictions on federal research over the cause of traffic fatalities. He said there is a need to study what weapons are used most to kill and which tend to be trafficked.
He also noted that he owns shotguns, although he noted, “I’m no great hunter, it’s mostly skeet shooting for me.”
Biden said that he still hopes to have a conference call with gun manufacturers and to find common ground.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, meanwhile, sent an email to supporters launching a petition aimed at pressuring House Republicans to support the president and take up the gun issue under the “Have His Back” campaign.
“We have the momentum to get this done and keep military-style weapons out of the hands of criminals, but Republicans continue to get in the way,” the email said.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.