White House Weighs Broader Attack on Guns

Even After Newtown, Risky To Confront NRA and Allies

By Reuters

Published January 06, 2013.

The White House is weighing a far broader approach to curbing U.S. gun violence than just reinstating a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.

A working group led by Vice President Joseph Biden is seriously considering measures that would require universal background checks for gun buyers and track the movement and sale of weapons through a national database, the newspaper said.

The measures would also strengthen mental health checks and stiffen penalties for carrying guns near schools or giving them to minors, the Post said. The approach is backed by law enforcement leaders, it said.

President Barack Obama assigned Biden the job of designing the strategy after the massacre at a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school last month that killed 20 children and six adults.

To sell such changes, the White House is developing strategies to work around the National Rifle Association (NRA), the powerful gun lobby.

They include rallying support from Wal-Mart Stores Inc and other gun retailers for measures that would benefit their businesses, the Post said.

NEW YORK MAYOR

The White House has been in contact with advisers to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a gun control advocate who could emerge as a surrogate for the administration’s agenda, the paper said.

The Post cited several people involved in the administration’s talks on gun control for its story. They included Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum.



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