Vice President Joe Biden confirmed that the President will use his executive powers to impose some form gun control on the American people – however, he did not elaborate on what exactly he and the president had in mind.
UPDATE: Following today’s meeting, Vice President Joe Biden said that the Gun Violence Task Force will most likely recommend background checks for all gun buyers and a ban on high-capacity magazines to President Barack Obama by next Tuesday.
“We’re here today to deal with a problem that requires immediate action, urgent action,” Biden said at a Wednesday press conference before he was scheduled to meet with a group of leaders from high-profile gun control advocacy groups, including Mayors Against Illegal Guns and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
“The president is going to act. There are executive orders, executive action that can be taken. We haven’t decided what that is yet, but we’re compiling it all … as well as legislative action, we believe, is required,” said Biden, who is leading the President’s gun control task force.
The VP then iterated that even if they have to piecemeal gun control reform, in lieu of passing one comprehensive package, the White House will get the job done, “I want to make it clear that we are not going to get caught up in the notion unless we can do everything, we’re going to do nothing,” he said.
“I have committed to him that I will have the recommendations to him by Tuesday,” Biden said, adding that “There is a surprising, so far, recurrence of suggestions that we have universal background checks.”
On Thursday (today), Biden is meeting with the leaders of the National Rifle Association while Attorney General Eric Holder (if you’re curious to know where he stands on the issue, see video below) sits down with gun retailers, which include the nation’s largest gun retailer Wal-Mart, and the following Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bass Pro Shops, Big 5 Sporting Goods, Cabela’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Dunham’s Sports, Gander Mountain, and Sportsman’s Warehouse.
Leading up to the meeting, the NRA voiced skepticism about the sincerity of the Obama administration in this whole ordeal, NRA President David Keene told Brooklyn GOP Radio on Tuesday, “I think they’re being disingenuous. I think that they’ve seen this as an opportunity to go after the Second Amendment, which they’ve wanted to do for years, if not decades, and I think they’re going to do everything they can to strip Americans of their right to keep and bear arms.”
Wal-Mart was also reluctant to meet with the White House, saying that senior leaders had already discussed the issue with Biden’s office in advance, sharing its perspective. But that excuse didn’t appear to fly with the Obama administration, which – it appears – demanded Wal-Mart to attend.
“We underestimated the expectation to attend the meeting on Thursday in person, so we are sending an appropriate representative to participate,” said Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar said.
Analysis and Commentary
I believe that the White House knows that the NRA will not give up any ground during this debate. The NRA, it appears, will not support an assault weapons ban, a ban on high-capacity magazines, a ban on online ammo sales, laws requiring universal background checks, a national gun registry or any of the other major gun control measures on the table.
As NRA President David Keene intimated, the meeting with the NRA is mainly for show. A way for Biden and co. to say, “See, we met and heard ideas from everyone.” Maybe, Biden will make one last attempt to negotiate with the NRA, but it’s unlikely that the two sides will agree on how to move forward.
Consequently, the White House leadership will ratchet up the pressure on the major gun retailers, insisting that they comply with the administration’s gun control agenda. The pitch will be twofold: (a) you stand to make more money if you support, for example, universal background checks (presumably, more people will buy from stores) and (b) if you refuse to get on board with our agenda, well, Attorney General Eric Holder and the ATF will be breathing down your throats.
The genius of going after retailers is that they’re the most vulnerable in this negotiation. For them, it’s all about money. If Obama and Biden get the gun retailers to cave in on certain discussion points (either through financial incentives of via fear of ATF persecution), then they gain considerable leverage in the debate. After all, how can the public purchase certain firearms, accessories or ammo if no one is willing to sell them?
Check back for more on this story.