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Gun control: Biden sees early consensus, but NRA cries foul

Vice President Joe Biden met with a number of groups Thursday, but the NRA objected to the focus of the meeting it attended. Universal background checks and limits on high-capacity magazines are two ideas emerging.

Vice President Joe Biden, accompanied by Attorney General Eric Holder, gestures as he speaks during a meeting with Sportsmen and Women and Wildlife Interest Groups and member of his cabinet, Thursday, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. Biden is holding a series of meetings this week as part of the effort he is leading to develop policy proposals in response to the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.

Susan Walsh/AP

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Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday the outlines of a consensus are emerging on how to address gun violence in America, including universal background checks on gun buyers and limits on high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Mr. Biden also said that he is committed to presenting his recommendations to President Obama next Tuesday.

“There is a surprising, so far, recurrence of suggestions that we have universal background checks," Biden said. He added that he had never heard so much spontaneous talk about “doing something” about high-capacity magazines.

But that was before any of his meetings Thursday, first with sports-hunting and wildlife groups and later with groups that support the rights of gun owners. The National Rifle Association, America’s largest gun-rights organization, which sent a representative to the second meeting, is crying foul.

"We were disappointed with how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the Second Amendment," the NRA said in a statement after the meeting, which its legislative director attended with Biden and several cabinet secretaries.

The statement continued: "While claiming that no policy proposals would be 'prejudged,' this task force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners – honest, taxpaying, hardworking Americans. It is unfortunate that this administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation's most pressing problems. We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen."

The negative tone of the NRA statement contrasted with the impressions of another participant in the meeting, Richard Feldman, president of the Independent Firearm Owners Association.


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