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Gun violence: Biden to meet with NRA, huddling with Illinois Coalition Against Handgun Violence

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WASHINGTON--Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday said when it comes to curbing gun violence, "this is a moral issue" and President Barack Obama may consider issuing executive orders, taking actions that do not require Congressional approvals.

It is not all-or-nothing when it comes to action, Biden said.

"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. It's critically important we act. And there certain things I -- I know a great deal about almost all of your organizations. I have read what you have published and spoken to. And there is a pretty wide consensus on three or four or five things in the gun safety area that could and should be done around this table," Biden said.

"You should know that tomorrow I've also invited the gun owners and the -- and -- and the NRA to come and make their case as well before us. I -- I -- I want it clear to the American public that on behalf of the president, we're reaching out to all -- all parties on whatever side of this debate you fall.

"But 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 with the help the attorney general and -- and all the rest of the Cabinet members -- as well as legislative action, we believe, is required."

Biden spoke at the beginning of one of a series of meetings he is holding as the chief of President Barack Obama's gun task force, created in the wake of the Sandy Hook School massacre.

On Wednesday, Biden is meeting with victim's groups and gun safety organizations including the Illinois Coalition Against Handgun Violence. Attorney General Eric Holder is also at the meeting.

On Thursday, Biden's meetings will include one with a representative of the National Rifle Association in a day that will take in "advocates for sportsmen and women" as well as gun ownership groups.

The NRA in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings created a program to put armed guards in the nation's schools. NRA chief Wayne LaPierre said in December, "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

The Biden group will also meet this week with representatives of the entertainment and video game industries.

From White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: " Secretary Duncan will meet with representatives from parent, teacher, and education groups. Secretary Sebelius will meet with mental health and disability advocates. And senior White House staff have also held and will continue to hold meetings with a variety of stakeholders, including medical groups, community organizations, child and family advocates, business owners, faith leaders, and others."

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on January 9, 2013 10:41 AM.

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