Biden Holds First Gun Control Meeting

Vice President Joe Biden began meetings on possible gun control legislation today.

The most interesting point, at least for me, is that the vice president indicated that he expects votes on whatever he proposes after the first of the year.

I interpret that to mean that the President has probably decided not to issue executive orders about this, at least for now.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Caucus of the House of Representatives has announced a push to ban the sale of high capacity magazines. This is not a new idea. Senate Democrats tried to attach such a ban to an unrelated piece of legislation last summer.

What all this means to us is that we have a window of time to think about this and decide what we want our Congress and president to do. From all indications, the Democrats are focusing their efforts on gun-control and ammunition control legislation. Although they mention a more comprehensive approach in their comments, the focus and the first thing they mention is always guns.

I’m going to try to write several posts that I hope will lead Public Catholic readers into a serious conversation of all these issues. It’s our country and we need to be part of the discussion about its future.

The article concerning Vice President Biden’s meeting today says in part:

Wasting no time, Vice President Joe Biden meets on Thursday with “law enforcement leaders” from across the country to launch work on a series of recommendations to battle gun violence in the wake of the school massacre in Newtown, Conn.
The 1 p.m. meeting is to include White House officials, as well as Attorney General Eric Holder, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the White House said.
President Barack Obama on Wednesday tasked Biden with leading an administrationwide effort to craft concrete proposals for tackling what Obama called an “epidemic” of gun violence. The vice president will report back no later than January.
Obama pushed Congress to pass a series of traditional gun control measures quickly. “A majority of Americans support banning the sale of military-style assault weapons,” he said on Wednesday. “A majority of Americans support banning the sale of high-capacity ammunition clips. A majority of Americans support laws requiring background checks before all gun purchases, so that criminals can’t take advantage of legal loopholes to buy a gun from somebody who won’t take the responsibility of doing a background check at all.”
He added, “I urge the new Congress to hold votes on these measures next year in a timely manner.”
But he also embraced a broader approach, stressing that “there’s no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence in our society.”(Read more here.)

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  • StephC

    And whom, pray tell, is the POTUS appointing as Mental Health Treatment head honcho?
    I’d be all for a Gun summit if there were a simultaneous summit for the unaddressed mental health treatment crisis. Although, I think I’d want VP Biden far, far, away from either.

  • vox borealis

    These folks just can’t wait to limit actual, clearly articulated constitutional rights. It sort of balances the push to find rights hidden in shadows and penumbras.

  • vox borealis

    Anyway, this is just more political theater to keep other things, like the economy, out of the headlines. If they get to take away those darned “military-style” guns (whatever that means), that’s just gravy.

    Has anyone here been watching the show Revolution?

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  • Rex

    Will someone please educate our president? Will you attempt in an article, Rebecca? They are not trying to ban high capacity “clips.” They are trying to ban high capacity MAGAZINES. Clips were used in World War 2 and are not spring fed. They are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT DEVICES. How can we trust you, Obama, to make gun law decisions, when you don’t even know the difference between a magazine and clip. I know rap/rock music artists and Hollywood have helped spread the misinformation, but please educate yourself on the subject, Mr. President. -Corey

  • Sus

    vox borealis – If a law is passed and the military/special police goes door to door and collects every single gun, then I’ll agree that your rights are under attack.

    I have watched Revolution and stopped because the acting was terrible and storyline was unrealistic.

    I’m not afraid of our government. I’m afraid of the people who are afraid of our government.

  • vox borealis

    @ Sue, you miss the point. They don’t really care about guns…this is all political theater. Sure, if they had their way, they would undermine that, like, hundred year old document. But the main issue here is trying to exploit a tragedy for political purposes.

    By the way, I am surprised you found the story line of a science fiction show “unrealistic”. Thanks for that!

    By the way, part ii: fear of the government is a built-in feature of that, like, hundred year old document called the constitution. Hence limited and enumerated powers and all that. I personally don’t fear people who fear the government. I fear that so many people have no fear (or perhaps better, no suspicion) of government. Then again, history does tend to repeat itself.

    • Sus

      LOL – okay, I agree, that was a dumb thing to say about science fiction. I don’t enjoy science fiction shows or books.

      Obama and Biden are both fathers. I find it hard to believe that they don’t care about guns that are killing children in their country. They may not have the country’s best interest at heart but most don’t have evil intent.

      The constitution speaks of our own freedoms but it also speaks of the good of the country. People forget that.

  • unknown

    Silly to think that banning hi-capacity magazines will really help this issue. It takes anyone with two hands about 2 seconds to change a magazine in an AWB era rifle. Going from 10 rounds to 30 rounds in about 4 seconds. Thanks, but no thanks. Ill take some changes to the registration and background checks, but banning hi-capacity magazines and ‘AWs’ is just political agenda fodder for liberals to chew on and helps no one.

    • Reluctant Liberal

      Gun control advocates have been accused of being opportunistic and political for using the Connecticut shooting to highlight our need for gun control. My niece will be entering kindergarten next year. She lives in a country that has HIGH and PREVENTABLE levels of gun violence. My mother-in-law is a kindergarten teacher. Advocating gun control isn’t about politics or some nefarious “agenda” for me; it is about people dying unnecessarily, and my fear that next time my niece and my mother-in-law will be among them. Twenty nine people were murdered in Norway last year. Twelve thousand in America. I’m sick of people dying for an imaginary right. Rights come from God. Guns come from the devil. War and killing in self defense is only permitted under double effect. It might be the lesser of two evils, but it is without question an evil according to Catholic thought.

      • Dave

        Well, the population of the United States, proportionally, is 63 times more than the population of Norway. So really the murder rate is “only” six times higher. It also may have something to do with population density. It’s interesting that you bring up Norway though. What about the recent killing of nearly 100 young people there? Same thing….one armed lunatic, and no armed resistance.

        Guns may come from the devil – that is debatable. But like it or not, they are here, and I don’t see a reason to limit their availability to the black market. There may be some reasonable limitations that could be made, and certainly there should be more safeguards to prevent guns from getting into the hands of the mentally ill.

  • Bill S

    I will look back with regret one more time, then I promise to look forward. Had she not been killed herself, how many years would Nancy Lanza have spent in prison for her role in what happened? I hate to badmouth the dead, but she certainly would have done time for her negligence. She provided the training and the weapons for one of the worst crimes in our history.

    Regret number two is how a law designed to protect society from assault weapons would only be in effect for 10 years. What would happen in 10 years that would make the law unnecessary after that period? Who was at the wheel when we drove off the assault weapons cliff?

    Okay. That’s enough regrets. I wish I could give Joe Biden some advice, but he’s on his own on this one.

  • Virginia

    @StephC: “I’d be all for a Gun summit if there were a simultaneous summit for the unaddressed mental health treatment crisis.”

    Amen. Mental health care, especially for adolescents, is practically non-existent. This was one of my biggest frustrations as a school nurse.

  • Todd Flowerday

    Revolution is not a science fiction show. It is a fantasy. People look pretty scrubbed and polished for having gone more than a decade without things like soap, factory-made clothing, and such.

    At any rate, I’m glad to see something at least getting talked about on the federal level that doesn’t have to do with a sudden change in elevation. If the common good in society means we accept reasonable controls on some firearms, so be it. Nobody has a right to *that* firearm.