Focus shifts to Congress on gun control

Biden is preparing to make gun policy recommendations to the President on Tuesday

By Jillian Rayfield
January 14, 2013 7:03PM (UTC)
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Joe Biden will meet with the members of the House Democrats' gun violence task force Monday morning to discuss a way forward for gun control legislation in Congress. But things aren't looking so promising. 

On Sunday, NRA president David Keene predicted that an assault weapons ban won't make it through Congress. And Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia also indicated that a ban by itself won't pass, and it needs to be part of a broader gun control package.


The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has his doubts as well:

Mr. Reid has long cast himself as a protector of the Second Amendment and recently expressed doubts about the prospects of banning assault weapons. On "Nevada Week in Review," a public television program in Las Vegas, he said a ban may pass the Senate, but likely wouldn't win sufficient support in the House. He added that "the American people want us to be very cautious what we do."

Mr. Reid has a complicated relationship with the NRA, which in 2010 declined to endorse him or his Republican opponent. The Nevada Democrat has opposed an assault weapons ban in the past. But in the wake of the Connecticut shootings, he said every idea should be on the table.

Biden has said that he expects to bring proposals to the President on Tuesday, and that executive action is on the table if Congress won't act.

On the state level, there is a slightly more hope for legislation to pass. Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, for example, is pushing a broad gun control package that is not facing much opposition from the Republican-controlled state Senate.


In Maryland, Gov.Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, is also reportedly pushing sweeping gun control legislation, including implementing "some of the nation’s strictest gun-licensing requirements, ban assault weapons and restrict visitor access to schools," according to the Washington Post, and forcing "prospective gun owners to provide fingerprints to state police, complete a hands-on weapon-familiarization and gun-safety course, and undergo a background check to be licensed."

O'Malley will be attending a two-day gun control summit at Johns Hopkins University, along with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to discuss potential measures.

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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Barack Obama Colorado Gun Control Gun Violence Joe Biden Maryland Michael Bloomberg New York