News / USA

Gun Violence Task Force to Send Recommendations to Obama by Tuesday

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, center, meets with sportsmen, wildlife groups, and members of the cabinet, Jan. 10, 2013.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, center, meets with sportsmen, wildlife groups, and members of the cabinet, Jan. 10, 2013.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden plans to send recommendations of a gun violence task force to President Barack Obama by next Tuesday. A Biden-led task force continued consultations with key interest groups, including the nation's largest gun rights organization and the entertainment industry.

After December's massacre of 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school, Obama gave Biden the job of coming up with recommendations for action by the end of this month.

Biden said the task force has consulted with a broad array of groups -- law enforcement and legal organizations, victims groups, the medical community including mental health experts, education groups, civil rights groups and religious leaders.

At the White House Thursday were representatives of sports and wildlife organizations, and leaders of the U.S. movie, broadcast and video game industries.

Biden said gun violence is a complex issue with no single solution, but progress will require compromise.

"There has got to be some common ground here, to not solve every problem, but diminish the probability that what we have seen in these mass shootings will occur, and diminish the probability that our children are at risk in their schools," Biden said.

The spotlight was on the vice president's talks later with gun rights groups, including the National Rifle Association, or NRA.  The group opposes legislative steps to strengthen gun laws or other actions it asserts would violate Second Amendment rights to bear arms. 

President Obama supports renewing a ban on assault weapons that Congress allowed to expire in 2004, as well as a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips, and he wants to close loopholes in background checks.  

After the Connecticut shootings, the NRA pledged to make "meaningful contributions" to the debate.  But it called a ban on assault weapons a "dangerous notion" and proposed that armed guards be placed in schools.

Following Thursday's talks, the NRA issued a statement accusing the White House of having an agenda aimed at attacking the Second Amendment, and vowed to take its case to members of Congress.

Though White House officials will not detail potential proposals, President Obama is expected to use his State of the Union address to lay out a package of recommendations.

Dan Gross, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, spoke to VOA Wednesday after his talks with Biden.

"I expect to hear specifics, and this is based on conversations we have been having [with the White House].  You know, the inauguration is probably too soon, but the State of the Union, based on the appropriately urgent timing of this task force, we would expect to hear specifics," said Gross.

Biden indicated that Obama would use executive orders that would not require legislation in Congress.  Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed this.

"He is looking at this broadly, not just in terms of the things that can be done legislatively, and not just in terms of the things that can be done through executive action," Carney said.

Biden said he heard wide support for requiring universal background checks, not only for gun shows but private firearms sales.  Every group, he said, mentioned the dangers of high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Thursday's discussions included Attorney General Eric Holder and Walmart, the largest seller of firearms in the United States.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs