Details of Biden gun package emerge
January 15th, 2013
08:48 AM ET
2 years ago

Details of Biden gun package emerge

(CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden's package of proposals on gun control – collected after meetings with various constituencies, including gun rights groups, retailers, and video game manufacturers – combines both "administrative actions" that the White House can take unilaterally and measures that will be presented to lawmakers in Congress, according to Democratic lawmakers who met with Biden this week.

The collection of measures includes 19 steps President Barack Obama can take himself using executive action, according to Rep. Jackie Speier, a member of the Democratic gun violence task force that met with Biden Monday.

"He didn't go into all of them," Speier said on CNN's "Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin." "Certainly they will be considered by the president."

A Democratic member of Congress who attended the meeting with Biden Monday said some of the 19 executive actions discussed include improving the way the government administers current law - for example, the database used for background checks during gun sales has information gaps, including on mental health. Improving that could be considered an "executive action."

Rep. Mike Thompson, who chaired the Democratic gun task force that met with Biden, detailed some of what the vice president's package contains on Tuesday's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien" on CNN.

"We met with the vice president yesterday, and the vice president said we need a comprehensive package to put an end or help put an end to the gun violence," Thompson said. "Congress is going to be important. It's going to be a cooperative effort with the two branches of government."

The "administrative actions" which Thompson said Obama could begin pursuing immediately include appointing a director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which has been without a permanent chief for six years. The acting director, B. Todd Jones, also serves as the U.S. attorney in Minnesota.

Thompson said Obama could also demand federal agencies provide data for background checks that are supposed to accompany gun sales, ensuring the information included in the checks is as "comprehensive and complete as possible."

Obama has not ruled out issuing executive orders on some gun control measures to enforce laws already on the books, such as bolstering the way gun sales are tracked. At a news conference Monday, Obama reiterated his desire for more robust background checks for gun buyers, keeping high capacity magazines away from criminals, and a ban on assault weapons.

"Will all of them get through this Congress? I don't know," Obama said. "But what's uppermost in my mind is making sure that I'm honest with the American people and members of Congress about what I think will work, what I think is something that will make a difference."

Obama said Monday he had begun reviewing Biden's package and would make concrete proposals later this week. Obama and Biden will meet for lunch Tuesday at the White House.

Working with Congress will be paramount in curbing gun violence, Thompson said Tuesday, singling out a ban on high capacity magazines as an example of a measure that could garner Republican support. A full-scale assault weapon ban would be tougher to pass the GOP-controlled House, he argued.

"I think we have to concentrate on what is most important in saving lives. If you take the assault magazine out of the rifle, the rifle will have less capacity than it would have otherwise. I think that is absolutely important. We need to prioritize on this," Thompson said.

CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin contributed to this report.


Filed under: Gun rights • Vice President Biden
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Waiting periods. If you have to wait out a 3 day cooling off period before you can get married, why can't you sit through a cooling off period to buy a gun?

    January 15, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  2. Grady

    Something good should come out of this...and it is about time.

    January 15, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  3. bd

    I would consider background checks reasonable. Enforce existing laws. As far as capacity limits go – the deadliest American school shooting was done by Seung Hui Cho at vtech, entirely with 10 round magazines. Basically, a good sounding but meaningless legislative measure.

    January 15, 2013 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  4. alfred

    Use executive power when possible.

    January 15, 2013 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  5. Gurgyl

    Joe, be tough–people ARE with YOU. Pass gun-control laws. Enough this nation went thru. God bless this nation, USA.

    January 15, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    It sure would be nice if the ATF had a director. I'm just saying.

    January 15, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  7. v_mag

    If you really support a literal interpretation of the Second Amendment, then you must support:

    1. Private ownership of any weapon, up to and including RPGs, F-16s, and tactical nuclear weapons.
    2. Ownership of weapons by the mentally ill, convicted criminals, and children.
    3. The right to carry loaded weapons by anybody, anytime, anywhere.

    The Second Amendment cannot rationally be interpreted to allow the above. Only the mentally ill could agree with the 3 statements above. Weapon ownership and use must be restricted on some basis, or the country cannot stand. Only the degree of restriction is under discussion, so quit throwing the Second Amendment up as your absolute defense against rational laws that will protect all of us. The Second Amendment is part of a larger Constitution whose purpose is to provide for the general welfare of the people of this country. It is not meant as a refuge for paranoid fans of murder weapons who want to inflict their delusions on the general population.

    January 15, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  8. Moose

    How about parenting ???

    January 15, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  9. sevenseas

    So are we to follow New York with the "assault magazine"? They already had limited the rounds in a weapon to 10, now they force it to 7. What's next? 5? 3? 1? On all these forums people say that the slippery slope argument does not happen, New York proves that it does.

    January 15, 2013 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  10. sevenseas

    So are we to follow New York with the "assault_ magazine"? They already had limited the rounds in a weapon to 10, now they force it to 7. What's next? 5? 3? 1? On all these boards people say that the "slippery slope" argument does not happen, New York proves that it does.

    January 15, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  11. Nicholas Smith

    They need to leave our guns, magazines, and ammunition alone, and kick those pansy judges in the rear end to make them enforce existing gun laws.

    January 15, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  12. Randall Shutt

    I already have a waiting period because my NICS check always returns 'Delayed' due to a misdemeanor on my record.

    I agree with waiting periods for all. I don't see what the problem would be with that.

    Background checks I can fully agree with... though I wonder how they would weave in mental health checks given that this stuff is all protected by doctor/patient privilege.

    Focusing on a type of weapon though seems pointless given that the weapon type they are focusing on appears to be used in an immaterial number of crimes.

    January 15, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  13. sonny chapman

    Repubs. decry "Feel Good Legislation"; unless it's about Sharia Law or other Boogermans that Fox News scares/alerts them of.

    January 15, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  14. ST

    We make our own choices of how we should live. Robbing lives of young ones or anyone has no place anywhere on earth. We trust our government will come up with cure of this craziness, once and for all.

    January 15, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  15. MaryM

    Use the Executive Order where possible. We all know congress can not get anything done

    January 15, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  16. WillB

    One thing you won't see is another "assault weapons ban." The AR15 is the most popular rifle on the market (sold out at present) today. It is not an assault weapon by definition except by politican definition (see Merriman's Dictionary if in doubt). What's worrying Democrats however, is history. It's Feinstein's assault weapons ban (although a miserable failure) that worries Democrats. It is given most of the credit for Clinton's loss of the Senate in 1996. Remember there are only 2 Senators/State, and Red (or Red leaning) states out number the Blue ones. A backlash in those States leaning Red (mostly rural South and West), would leave Obama with nothing to do for the remainder of his term except collect seashells at the shore.

    January 15, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  17. GuestAgain

    Maybe "criminal control" should be a part of the conversation?? But that would likely rile the likes of the ACLU and NAACP, etc. – we certainly dont want prison to be punitive nor would we want to disenfranchise any criminals through perceived racial profiling.....

    January 15, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  18. Bob Caspar

    A 4 week firearm Safety training course that included a background check before issuing a license to own a gun or buy ammunition is the first step. To buy a firearm or ammunition you must show your license. This includes gun shows, private sales etc. In addition ammunition and firearms cannot be sold over the internet. For all sales you must show your license. Cools things down and ensures that prople have been trained in the safe use of firearms.

    January 15, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  19. amf140

    It scares me when Biden runs anything. Wasn't he supposed to oversee the bailout money distribution????? That worked really well for all of us.

    January 15, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Things that make you say hmmm.....

    If the survivalists hate the government so much that they seem to want to replace it, then why do they love the 2nd Amendment so much?

    January 15, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  21. The Mayor of Medinah

    I am for standard national background check
    I do also feel that you should be of sound mind and body
    I do believe that gun shows transactions need to be stricter.
    I believe we need to crack down on gang violence
    I do believe that people conduction illegal activity such as “Straw” purchases should be prosecuted under the fullest extent of the law.
    I believe that convicted felons do not have the right to own a firearm.

    I also believe I have the right to own a semi automatic shotgun, rifle, or pistol with any size capacity of magazine as long as I comply with the laws of ownership.

    January 15, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  22. Dan

    You medical and mental health are taken into account when being issued a driver's license, why not guns? If you're blind, have seizers or other physical or mental that bar you from operating a motor vehicle, why not have certain dissociative and mental disorders/addictions play a role in gun ownership. I see nothing wrong with that, and I like guns.

    January 15, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  23. sonnie3

    The Second Amendment is loud and clear. And WE The People Need To support it 100%/
    It's purpose was to keep Government from running afoul with it citizens.
    Take away our rights(GUNS) and we become subjects or slaves
    That is not what will keep America strong.
    Politicians would have no fear if they were doing what they were elected to do instead of having one thing in mind and that is their self preservation and continued reelection to their cushie jobs. They are suposed to uphold the law of the land and not change it to suit their whims. Americans need to wake up and not allow some knee jerk actions happen because of a tragic shooting of kids in a school. What a mentaly strange person it takes to commit acts of violence against the defenseless children. They are cowards at the highest level and should be hanged in public to show what tolerance we have for such behavior.

    January 15, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  24. Charlie Daniels

    Roll those executive order dice and expect impeachment filings. Amen for Texas.

    January 15, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  25. memo2

    If congress can't get anything done, the question is why.

    January 15, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
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