Biden vows recommendations to curb gun violence by Tuesday
By Josh Levs
(CNN) — A federal task force looking for ways to curb gun violence will have a set of recommendations by Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden announced Thursday.
Speaking during a week of meetings with disparate groups on various sides of the issue — including some for and others against stricter gun controls — Biden, who oversees the task force, said the recommendations, to be given to President Barack Obama, will serve as a beginning.
“This doesn’t mean it is the end of the discussion, but the public wants us to act,” he told reporters.
Biden said he’s been surprised by how many groups have encouraged universal background checks for all gun owners, including those who purchase through private sales.
Some states have backlogs of thousands of felons who are never registered on lists aimed at helping prevent dangerous weapons from getting into their hands, he noted.
Obama called for the task force after last month’s massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 27 people were killed — 20 of them elementary school children.
“This is a complicated issue,” Biden said, emphasizing that there is “no singular solution to how we deal with” mass shootings.
Many stakeholders in the issue have met with members of the task force, he said, noting that medical and religious groups were among them, as well as educators and parents from school boards.
Concerns about mental health may be “one of the most important things that we’ve been focusing on,” he said.
Biden also noted that many firearm deaths in the United States are suicides.
Referring to one of the most contentious issues — whether to reinstate an assault weapons ban — Biden said he has never heard so much support for “the need to do something about high-capacity magazines.”
The task force is also meeting with members of the video game industry.
Obama has spoken out about a culture that often “glorifies guns and violence.”
The president also is exploring executive orders to combat gun violence, Biden said Wednesday.
Wal-Mart, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Bass Pro Shops were among 10 retailers scheduled to meet with Attorney General Eric Holder, who is part of the panel.
Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest retailer, triggered controversy earlier in the week when it said its officials were unavailable to attend the meeting because of scheduling. The company soon reversed its decision, saying it had “underestimated the expectation to attend.”
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