Biden, who met with representatives of victims groups and gun-safety organizations Wednesday, said officials are considering steps that could "take thousands of people out of harm's way" and improve the safety of millions more.
"I want to make it clear that we are not going to get caught up in the notion that unless we can do everything, we're going to do nothing," Biden told groups including the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "It's critically important we act."
Biden faces a tougher audience when the NRA joins other gun-owner groups and retailers including Wal-Mart. NRA officials didn't return messages for comment Wednesday, but the group's executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, has dismissed the assault weapons ban as "a phony piece of legislation" and has recommended putting armed guards in all schools as a way to stop another school shooting.
Biden said he wanted to hear from "all parties, on whatever side of this debate you fall."
In a nod to political realities that could imperil sweeping gun-control legislation, Biden said the administration is weighing executive action in addition to recommending legislation by Congress.
Recommendations to the Biden group include making gun-trafficking a felony, getting the Justice Department to prosecute people caught lying on gun background-check forms and ordering federal agencies to send data to the National Gun Background Check Database.