Details of Biden gun package emerge
January 15th, 2013
08:48 AM ET
10 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. Jim Steele

    Reading this makes me think - "the public are sheep headed to the slaughter!" We are giving up constitutional freedoms based upon uninformed, emotional, knee-jerk reactions. They are using the shooting to push an ever-present agenda item - gun control. This, and every other school shooting was a tragedy. There were, however, laws in place to prevent it. They were just broken or not enforced. No matter how many laws are passed, criminals and the mentally ill are going to continue to kill people. If you unarm the masses, they will kill more. Just look to Chicago and DC for evidence.

    January 15, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  2. trex

    ........Only the GREAT MAJORITY OF AMERICANS want to limit semi and automatic weapons........that's all........

    January 15, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  3. jpmichigan

    Once again a committee to give their recommendations to a President, who does what he wants regardless of these recommendations, this is a proven fact by past committees. The State will provide better gun restrictions then the federal government can or will.

    January 15, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  4. BillSD33

    Jim Steele: You are absolutely wrong. This is not about removing guns. It is about making sure we just don't sell them to anyone. I keep hearing your side refer to Chicago. You cannot buy a gun in Chicago. You can however go a few miles outside of Chicago and buy as many guns as you want. You can then go back into Chicago and sell those guns.

    Gun owners must be responsible for the gun they own. If they lose it or it is stolen it needs to be reported. If a crime is committed with a gun you own, you should be responsible. There should be a national database for checks and every gun purchase should be checked.

    January 15, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  5. ghostriter

    Sorry gun nutcases, the only way to keep things legit is by national registry. I know you nutcases will complain about rights and what not, but you yourselves often complain that you need guns to protect yourselves from the world we live in. It's because of that world that we need this regulation. Not because of the good folks, but the bad ones.

    Yes, a determine person will find a way to do things such as school shootings. But we should make every attempt to stop it. Armed guards MIGHT slow a person down and limit the number of people killed, but is that really acceptable? That we did manage to save a few more people than otherwise? Tell that to the ones who did lose kids.

    We can do better than that. This excuse that only law abiding folks abide by laws is tragically flawed. We have rules for a reason. We shouldn't craft laws based on who may and may not follow them. We craft laws based on what we as a society agree with. As long as the punishment fits the crime, so be it. We can decide on a way to do this and keep everyone happy. If it means a bit of an inconveinence, then that's the price we pay for a civilized society.

    January 15, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  6. Gregory M. Newbold

    Biden`s recommendations should serve as an ala carte menu for state & local governments to adopt WITHOUT CHANGE. Consistent measure[s] across states can mimic national power in those BLUE or RED states . The restrictions in some jurisdictions will have a slight spillover effect in others. States Rights, remember.

    If gun ranges, gun shops, sellers of guns and ammo are required to catalog/ report evidence of assault rifles and local jurisdictions ban them, their prevalence will decline. If states ban transport/ carrying weapons across state lines, by personal travel [car/bus/airplane] them can make gun ownership a nusance for the casual owner and reduce them.

    Let the risks of gun ownership lie with the localities that think they are so great. Let the restrictions & punishment be severe for any party that facilitates guns in the others.

    January 15, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  7. The REAL Truth...

    Lets have the NRA ante-up and pay for (and arm) the 100,000 NEW school guards they say should be put in place to protect our children... !!!

    January 15, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  8. Akr

    Please listen to the parents of those Newtown children who were slaughtered by these weapons. This is a national emergency!

    January 15, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  9. Dak

    @TheREALtruth... I wouldnt mind paying for a 100,000 people to have a job, hell I already pay for millions to be unemployed or do nothing at all.

    January 15, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  10. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    There is no one thing that can be done to halt the violence associated with various guns out there. More strict enforcement of the current rules needs to be done if Congress will pay that. There also needs to be more responsibility by those that own weapons to make sure that theft and sales of weapons are reported timely. Those that do own weapons should be responsible for making sure that they are also secure which wasn't the case in CT.

    January 15, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  11. Joe D.

    Registration inevitably means confiscation. That's the way it has worked in every country so far, and that is why American gun owners resist it so hard. You can already see the leanings of some politicians. In Maryland there is a proposal to include semi-auto handguns in their registration lists. The government has no reason to need to know what I own so long as it is legal.

    January 15, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  12. Larry L

    @Jim Steele

    Reading this makes me think – "the public are sheep headed to the slaughter!" We are giving up constitutional freedoms based upon uninformed, emotional, knee-jerk reactions.
    All constitutional rights have limitations. The 2nd absolutely does not define "arms" and common sense should prevail. Since the N.R.A. has been habitually unwilling to offer meaningful recommendations and the pro-gun lobby appears to be nothing more than zealots with a hatred of our federal government, our population must do the best we can in deciding the definition of "common sense". The N.R.A. mantra has been "no compromise" for decades – just like the radical right-wing of the Republican Party. Both will suffer the same fate as result of that decision.

    January 15, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  13. 21st Century Johny Reb

    The Big Lies #1. ) What educated person could possibly connect Bullet Wounds with The Center For DISEASE CONTROL?
    My wife has worked for Medical Labs, Hospitols and Blood Banks,she ought to know and theres NOT ONE disease listed as Caused By Bullets. Thats a fact. now,,go ahead and spin that one, I know you can't wait.

    January 15, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  14. ja

    America, is full of people with the false premise of relligion and patroitism, what does bubba need with a high capacity and powered weapon unless he in in the armed forces or an a swat, the mom of the newtown terrorist proves it, she was living in a million dollar home and claim she was looking for mental help for her killer son, lets digest what happened, her priorities were screwed up, just as the nra, in the ghettos as some will label, people die daily to gun violence

    January 15, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  15. Sniffit

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

    Nothing suggested above or by the administration so far would fall outside of executive authority. More to the point, even if it did, it would not constitute a "high crime and misdemeanor" as required under the Constitution for impeachment. Impeachment, and the threats of it from imbeciles like Stockman, is nothing more than political nonsense from radicalized ideologue partisan jackholes who think the Constitution has a hidden section that requires impeachment of any Dem POTUS who makes it into a 2nd term.

    January 15, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  16. judy

    what constitutional rights are you talking about giving up??? Joe you are way to paranoid. If people think the government is going to confiscate all their guns then there is an even bigger problem. The NRA has pushed their agenda for way to long. They are no more than a lobbiest for big gun manufactures and the public buys into their nonsense

    January 15, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  17. Will S

    We cannot have any meaningful discussion on firearms regulation until all parties use facts and logic instead of fear and ignorance.

    I challenge anyone pushing for an "assault weapons" ban to accurately define what an "assault weapon" is.
    The legislators don't know.
    The media doesn't know.
    The sheep don't know.
    Before attempting to legislate something out of existence, it would be prudent to know what it it is (and is not).

    January 15, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  18. Sniffit

    Instructions for simulating NRA and gun nut arguments and their results:

    1. Place index finger horizontally across lips.

    2. Move index finger rapidly up and down across lips while humming.

    3. Scream that you've "finally had enough" and make vague threats of revolution as a means of venting your existential angst caused by your refusal to accept your own impotence.

    4. Something something black helicopters, UN armies, new world order, yadda yadda yadda.

    5. Threaten, encourage, applaud or commit an act of domestic terrorism.

    6. ....

    7. Status quo.

    January 15, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  19. GuestAgain

    Gun control – the new liberal flavor of the campaign...proudly supported by left wing media outlets everywhere!

    January 15, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  20. SuperD

    People, this is hopeless, the problem here is the culture rot we are experiencing. No law, no ban, no nothing is going to stop someone who is hell bent on doing harm.

    The USA was grown out of a gun culture, we can't change that.

    However, we can address the young and impressionable and stop the glorification of violence in games, TV and movies and music. This stupid kid was obviously affected by that, where do think he got the idea? He just happened to have a parent who allowed him access to guns. That's what happened here.

    The best an most effective thing we could do is have security guards in schools. You have to fight fire with fire, so yes, they will be armed. Then the next time a loser wants to shoot up some kids, he'll know he'll have to deal with an armed security guard.

    January 15, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  21. Bob

    Joe D.

    Registration inevitably means confiscation.


    I can smell the stink of your fear.

    January 15, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  22. The Real Tom Paine

    -Jim Steele

    Reading this makes me think – "the public are sheep headed to the slaughter!" We are giving up constitutional freedoms based upon uninformed, emotional, knee-jerk reactions. They are using the shooting to push an ever-present agenda item – gun control. This, and every other school shooting was a tragedy. There were, however, laws in place to prevent it. They were just broken or not enforced. No matter how many laws are passed, criminals and the mentally ill are going to continue to kill people. If you unarm the masses, they will kill more. Just look to Chicago and DC for evidence.
    In DC, you can simply ride into Virginia or West Virginia to get a gun with little fuss, and in Chicago you can go to Indiana or WI. Hence the reason for a federal law, since the municipal or state bans will be overturned by Conservatives normally inclined to support localities and states doing what they please. Since they have done such a wonderful job of flooding our country with firearms, a nation approach is needed. Oh, and GuestAgain: shooting 6 and 7 year olds, the new rightie flavor of the campaign...........proudly supported by right wing media outlets and shills everywhere! The new conservative mantra is " How does this affect me?".

    January 15, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  23. GuestAgain

    Root cause analysis. Try it sometime people and you'll see that gun control isnt crime control. You'll have to leave fantasy land for a moment and be able to accept the truth though....something democrats are unfamiliar with.

    January 15, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  24. CanadaONE

    It is time for America to join the 21st Century

    and stop producing guns which end up killing Americans on American streets -schools – shopping malls and movie houses etc.


    January 15, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  25. memo2

    Too much executive actions to do nothing.

    January 15, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
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