Joe Biden looks for support in gun control battle
Bill Clinton says that the availability of high-capacity bullet magazines was 'nuts'
As battle lines were being drawn in the super-heated debate about gun ownership in the United States, the Vice- President, Joe Biden, sought support today for tougher laws and background checks from the one organisation least likely to give it, the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Even before engaging with Mr Biden, who is preparing a range of possible measures to confront gun violence in America in the wake of December's killing of 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut, the NRA boasted that it had attracted 100,000 new members since the massacre.
Last night, Mr Biden said he will present his plans to President Barack Obama next Tuesday, six days ahead of his inauguration to a second term on 21 January. "There has got to be some common ground, to not solve every problem but diminish the probability" of future mass shootings, the Vice-President said. "That's what this is all about. There are no conclusions I have reached."
Mr Biden again said not doing anything was not an option in the wake of Newtown. "There is nothing that has pricked the consciousness of the American people" like the images of "little six-year-olds riddled... with bullet holes in their class," he offered.
His comments came ahead of reports of another shooting today at a high school in Taft, California, with two people feared injured.
Meanwhile, a campaign to push back against the NRA, which for decades has used its deep coffers to stymie serious gun controls, is already under way. On Wednesday, former President Bill Clinton told an electronics conference in Las Vegas that the easy availability of high-capacity bullet magazines was "nuts".
This week also saw the launch by Gabrielle Giffords, the former congresswoman who was nearly killed by a gunman in Arizona two years ago, with her husband Mark of a group called "Americans for Responsible Solutions" that will seek to match NRA spending during election campaigns to support pro-gun control candidates. Money for her project has already started to flow in from top Democrat donors.
Those meeting Mr Biden include sportsmen, retailers including the Wal-Mart chain, wildlife advocates and representatives of the video game industry. The range of participants suggests that the final package of steps will look beyond gun control towards new restrictions on showing violence in games and films.
The NRA is in a difficult spot, facing a much-changed mood in Washing- ton in the wake of Newtown, but also conscious of its members who are fiercely protective of their Second Amendment rights to own a gun. The group sought to project toughness combined with a willingness to participate at the same time.
"We are willing to talk to policymakers about any reasonable proposals and plans," an NRA official said before seeing Mr Biden.
"However, the NRA is hearing not just from Beltway elites and the chattering class, but real Americans all over the country that are hoping the NRA is not going to compromise on any of the principles of the Second Amendment, nor are we going to support banning guns," he added.
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
Boris Johnson claims porn-obsessed Islamic jihadists are 'literally w*****s'
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Putin opponent reveals Russian President's daughter's secret identity
Ball pool for adults opens in London
Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...