Biden: Obama Willing to Go Alone on Gun Violence

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 9 2013 5:46 PM

VP Biden: Obama Won’t Wait for Congress To Take Action on Gun Violence

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Vice President Joe Biden makes brief remarks at the beginning of a meeting on gun violence

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Vice President Joe Biden made it clear today the White House wants to pass new gun-control measures and will do so with or without the help of Congress. At the start of two days of meetings this week on the issue, Biden said that while the administration wants to build a consensus, President Obama is ready to use his executive powers whenever possible to help stop gun violence.

"We are not going to get caught up in the notion that unless we can do everything, we're going to do nothing," said Biden, who has been tasked with leading a commission to come up with new gun-policy recommendations. "It's critically important we act." Although Biden said there is general agreement on “three or four or five steps” that could be taken to improve gun safety, he failed to specify what they were, reports Reuters.

Biden, who has been given until the end of the month to hand in his task force report,  met with gun-control advocates and victims of gun violence today at the White House and he will be sitting down with NRA officials for a meeting where Wal-Mart will also be represented. Bloomberg notes that Wal-Mart’s presence "may signal the building pressure for a response." Earlier in the day Wal-Mart had said it wouldn’t attend the meeting, but quickly reversed course.

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The administration isn’t alone in trying to give new urgency to igun-control regulations following the Sandy Hook massacre. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this week he will try to stiffen the state’s already tough gun-control laws, points out the Wall Street Journal.

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.