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Biden Moves Ahead With Gun Plan Despite NRA Objections

Guns for Everyone rally; photo by Mark Leffingwell/Reuters

Karen Murry of Parker, Colo., holds signs outside the state capitol building in Denver during an anti-gun control legislation rally organized by Guns for Everyone. Photo by Mark Leffingwell/Reuters.

The Morning Line

Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that there was an “emerging set of recommendations” coming from the groups he has been meeting with as part of an effort to reduce gun violence in the country and that he planned to deliver his recommendations to President Obama by Tuesday of next week.

“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,” Biden said.

He also indicated that there had been “a surprising recurrence of suggestions” that the Obama administration push for “universal background checks” on all gun buyers.

But Biden’s comments all came before he spoke with representatives from the gun rights lobby, including the National Rifle Association.

Following the meeting, which last about an hour-and-a-half, the NRA made clear the organization would not cooperate with the administration’s effort any further.

“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. We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen. Instead, 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.”

Politico’s Reid Epstein reports on Biden’s attitude in the private meeting, noting that he “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.”

Feldman also told Politico that Biden’s message to those in the meeting was “that they would be wise to join the White House effort to combat gun violence and avoid public wrath.”

“He was really pushing us all to get with his program. He said that the public wants something done,” Feldman said. “His argument was all these other groups he’s met with, the Pentacostals and evangelicals and others, all of a sudden there is a different attitude. The implication is they are more amenable now with going along, and so should you.”

In the Washington Post, Philip Rucker writes that the administration is looking at funding for more police officers on school campuses as part of a broader package of reforms:

The school safety initiative, one of several under consideration, would make federal dollars available to schools that want to hire police officers and install surveillance equipment, although it is not nearly as far-ranging as the National Rifle Association’s proposal for armed guards in every U.S. school.

The idea is gaining currency among some Democratic lawmakers, who see it as a potential area of common ground with Republicans who otherwise oppose stricter restrictions on firearms. Sen. Barbara Boxer, a liberal Democrat from California, said she presented the plan to Vice President Biden and that he was “very, very interested” and may include it in the policy recommendations he makes to President Obama.

Meanwhile, gun control groups would prefer to be called “gun safety” organizations, reports Evan McMorris-Santoro in Talking Points Memo.

On Friday afternoon Biden will meet with representatives of the video game industry at the White House to discuss the role of violent media in mass shootings.

The Entertainment Consumers Association issued a public letter in advance of the session urging Biden to protect “the public’s constitutional right to access and buy games” and asking him not to blame video games for last month’s shooting in Newtown, Conn.


  • Politico finds another potential hiccup in an aid bill for victims of super-storm Sandy.

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  • Rev. Louie Giglio, who was slated to give the benediction at President Obama’s inauguration, withdrew Thursday amid questions about an anti-gay sermon he delivered nearly two decades ago.

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  • On Thursday Mr. Obama signed into law a measure giving himself, former President George W. Bush and future presidents lifetime Secret Service protection. Congress did away with the benefit in 1994, providing a decade of protection to presidents elected after 1997.

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  • National Journal and The New York Times take closer looks at two contenders to replace Lew as White House chief of staff: Ron Klain, who served as chief of staff to Biden and Gore, and deputy national security adviser Denis McDonough.

  • A Quinnipiac poll released Thursday paints a mixed picture of Virginia voters’ attitudes toward guns. They favor nationwide bans on high-capacity magazines and assault weapons, but they also would like to see armed police officers in the state’s public schools.

  • That same Quinnipiac poll found dissatisfaction with the “fiscal cliff” deal among Virginia voters. Seventy-three percent of Virginia Republicans and 62 percent of Virginia independents said they were more frustrated about the deal’s terms than relieved that a deal was reached.

  • Friday’s tidbit from NewsHour partner Face the Facts USA: Every fourth vehicle on a congested highway is a truck.


  • The NewsHour led Thursday’s program with a discussion about Mr. Obama’s nomination of Lew to be his new treasury secretary. Judy Woodruff talked about the choice with Julianna Goldman of Bloomberg News and Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Watch here or below:

  • The NewsHour took an in-depth look at the new film “Zero Dark Thirty,” which was among the Oscar nominees for best picture.

  • Here is our detailed guide to the official inaugural activities and festivities.

  • “Frontline” dove in to examine the legacy of former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee.

  • Judy’s Notebook asks how lawmakers can work together to find a solution for the nation’s long-term fiscal woes.


Katelyn Polantz and Geoffrey Lou Guray contributed to this report.

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