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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before