Biden states commitment to ‘immediate action’ on guns

Rachel Rose Hartman

Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday morning assured gun-violence survivors and representatives from gun-safety groups that the White House is committed to speedy action in response to the Newtown, Conn., shooting.

"This is a problem that requires immediate attention," Biden said at the start of the meeting held at the White House—the first of several meetings Biden has scheduled to receive input on gun violence as he heads up a task force assigned to propose action the administration can take to address the issue of gun violence.

"The president and I are determined to take action," Biden said. "I want to make clear that we're not going to get caught up in the notion that, unless we can do everything, we're going to do nothing," according to the report.

The meeting itself was closed to press, but Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, told reporters at the White House after the meeting that assault weapons, magazine clips, background checks, gun trafficking and mental health were some of the issues discussed.

Gross stressed that the White House's "comprehensive and broad" approach does not mean "taking guns away from law abiding citizens—and they’ve underscored that in every conversation that we've had."

"This is not a debate around the 2nd Amendment," Gross said.

Gross also confirmed that the White House spoke about its "willingness to use executive action where that is appropriate."

Some politicians, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have called on the president to enact gun control by executive order.

In addition to Biden, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Gross, the 19 attendees on Wednesday included representatives from Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the Violence Policy Center, state gun-safety organizations, survivors of the Virginia Tech shooting, and family who lost loved ones in the Aurora, Colo., shooting.

Biden is scheduled to meet with gun owners, the NRA, Walmart and other groups on Thursday.