Biden Meets Victims and Gun-Safety Groups

Washington (AP) -
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (R) speaks to representatives of gun safety and gun violence victims’ groups in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, Wednesday. (REUTERS/Larry Downing)
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (R) speaks to representatives of gun safety and gun violence victims’ groups in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, Wednesday. (REUTERS/Larry Downing)

Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday heard personal stories of gun violence from representatives of victims groups and gun-safety organizations as he drafts the Obama administration’s response to the shooting at a Connecticut elementary school. He pledged that action would be taken.

“I want to make it clear that we are not going to get caught up in the notion (that) unless we can do everything we’re going to do nothing,” Biden said. “It’s critically important (that) we act.”

The meeting was part of a series Biden is holding this week to build consensus around proposals to curb gun violence after the Dec. 14 shooting in Newtown, Conn. Twenty school children were killed.

Biden meets Thursday with the National Rifle Association and other gun-owner groups. Meetings with representatives of the video-game and entertainment industries also are planned.

President Barack Obama wants Biden to deliver policy proposals by the end of the month. Obama has vowed to move swiftly on the package, which is expected to include legislative proposals and executive action.

Participants in Wednesday’s meeting with Biden included the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence and groups from Arizona, Illinois and Wisconsin, states with spates of gun violence that garnered national attention, including the shooting in Arizona of then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Also present were two survivors of the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech that killed 32 people, as well as a stepfather of a victim of last July’s massacre at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., in which a dozen people were slain. Attorney General Eric Holder also attended.

The president hopes to announce his administration’s next steps to tackle gun violence shortly after he is sworn in for a second term on Jan. 21.

Gun-rights lawmakers and outside groups have insisted that any policy response also include an examination of mental health policies and the impact of violent movies and video games.