White House Mulling Broad Gun-Control Measures

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 6 2013 1:13 PM

White House Mulling Broad Gun-Control Measures

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Collin McCarthy looks at a shotgun during the 8th Annual East Coast Fine Arms Show in Stamford, Connecticut

Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

The Obama administration is currently in the process of considering a series of measures to curb gun violence that would go beyond a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition, according to the Washington Post. Citing “multiple people involved” in the discussions, the Post says that a working group led by Vice President Joe Biden is considering several sure-to-be controversial measures, such as universal background checks, a system to track weapon sales and movements across the country, and increasing mental health checks. In order to work around the intense opposition from the gun lobby, the White House is considering a number of strategies, including getting support from big gun retailers such as Wal-Mart as well as several different interest groups, including religious leaders and mental-health professionals. Biden is also considering proposing several measures that wouldn’t require congressional approval and could be implemented quickly.

President Obama’s big gun control push could come much earlier than many were expecting because the administration wants to be sure it acts before outrage over the Sandy Hook massacre dissipates, Talking Points Memo reported on Friday. But any effort to push gun-control legislation to the top of the agenda is likely to be met with resistance from Republicans. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday that debate over spending and debt will dominate debate for the next three months and any talk of gun legislation would likely have to take a back seat, reports the Associated Press. While McConnell made it clear he would have to wait to see Obama’s proposals before passing judgment, he did point out lawmakers will be so busy with financial issues over the next few months they’ll have little time for anything else.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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