The White House may just ignore the NRA

Biden is set to have more gun control meetings today as the NRA expresses "disappointment" with the talks

Published January 11, 2013 2:24PM (EST)

Though the NRA unsurprisingly objected to the gun control measures being considered by Joe Biden's gun violence task force, Biden is pressing on with his plan to send the president gun control proposals by Tuesday.

Biden, who is slated to meet with representatives from the video game industry this afternoon, met with the NRA and other gun control opponents yesterday for about an hour and a half.

The meeting, it seems, did not go well. “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. “It is unfortunate that this administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation’s most pressing problems."

"I do not think that there's going to be a ban on so-called assault weapons passed by the Congress," said NRA President David Keene on NBC's "Today."

The AP reports that the White House was not surprised:

White House officials said the vice president didn't expect to win over the NRA and other gun groups on those key issues. But the administration was hoping to soften their opposition in order to rally support from pro-gun lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

And there is some indication that the White House is simply going to go around them. Politico reports that Obama may be "trying an end run around the NRA — rallying groups as varied as churches, medical organizations, retailers and the Rotary Club to build support for new gun regulations." From Politico:

Biden has made a point of highlighting the broad diversity of organizations now backing the White House gun efforts, telling the NRA and other gun owner organizations in a meeting Thursday that “all of a sudden there is a different attitude” from groups not previously invested in gun control, according to Richard Feldman, who attended the session and is president of the Independent Firearm Owners Association.

In Biden’s public remarks Thursday, he emphasized the extent of his panel’s outreach to groups from fields including medicine, law, education, mental health, religious groups and social service outlets such as the Kiwanis and Rotary clubs.

The biggest threat to gun control is the NRA and its influence over members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, which could help shut down any potential legislation based on task force proposals. But Biden has said that Obama could pass gun control measures through executive order if Congress does not take action.

In a press conference Thursday, Biden suggested that the plan itself could have "universal background checks," which had a "surprising recurrence of suggestions" in his meetings. Biden also said he was considering a way to gather information on "what kind of weapons are used most to kill people" and "what kind of weapons are trafficked weapons," and closing the gun show loophole. He added: “I’ve never heard so much talk about high-capacity magazines.”

Meanwhile, New York legislators continue to debate a broad gun control package laid out by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y. According to the New York Times, legislators have "agreed they want to ban military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, but continue to negotiate over the fine print of a broad gun-control package that would include such a ban, state officials said Thursday."

By Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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Gun Control Joe Biden Newtown School Shooting Nra Second Amendment