NRA Blasts Biden's Gun Task Force After Meeting

The National Rifle Association blasted the White House task force on gun violence, not long after the group and other gun rights advocates met with Vice President Biden on Thursday.


The National Rifle Association blasted the White House task force on gun violence, not long after the group and other gun rights advocates met with Vice President Biden on Thursday.

The NRA is one of several stakeholders that Biden and other senior Obama administration officials have been meeting this week to discuss efforts to stem gun violence. Biden was tapped to develop a broad set of recommendations for Obama in the aftermath of last month's shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

"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," the NRA said in a statement following Thursday's meeting. "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. It is unfortunate that this Administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation's most pressing problems. We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen."

Biden said that he plans to deliver his gun violence task force's recommendations to President Obama by early next week.

"I have committed to him that I will have the recommendations to him by Tuesday," Biden said.

The vice president's comments came at the start of a separate meeting with representatives of hunters and wildlife interest groups on Thursday morning.

The vice president said he is considering several recommendations he has heard repeatedly from stakeholders — including instituting universal background checks and limiting size of high-capacity magazines.

"There is a surprising, so far, recurrence of suggestions that we have universal background checks," Biden said. He added, "Among ... my former colleagues in the Senate, who have been pretty universally opposed to any restrictions on gun ownership or what type of weapons can be purchased, etc., I have never quite heard as much talk about the need to do something about high-capacity magazines as I have heard spontaneously from every group I have met with so far."

Later Thursday afternoon, Biden and other senior administration officials met for about 45 minutes with representatives from gun rights groups, including NRA legislative director James Baker. The NRA had set low expectations for the meeting, but the sharpness of its rebuke was notable.

"We will now take our commitment and meaningful contributions to members of congress of both parties who are interested in having an honest conversation about what works — and what does not," the group said.

Biden, along with Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, are also scheduled to meet with entertainment industry executives later Thursday.

Holder was also scheduled to hold a separate meeting with some of the nation's top gun sellers, including the megaretailer Wal-Mart, to discuss the issue. Wal-Mart had initially turned down an invitation from the Obama administration to participate because the company said senior executives were unavailable to travel.

"We underestimated the expectation to attend the meeting on Thursday in person, so we are sending an appropriate representative to participate," Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar said in a statement released Wednesday.

On Wednesday, at a similar session with gun-safety and victims group, Biden said that the president is considering using presidential "executive order" as part of a broad effort to stem gun violence.

Biden said he was still hoping to have a conference call with gun manufacturers.

"There has got to be some common ground, to not solve every problem but diminish the probability" of mass shootings, he said. "That's what this is all about. There are no conclusions I have reached."