Not that there was ever much doubt, but the National Rifle Association bluntly declared on Thursday that it would not cooperate with any White House drive for gun control in the aftermath of the elementary school slaughter in Newtown, Conn.
“We were disappointed with how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the Second Amendment,” the powerful lobbying group said in a statement after talks with Vice President Joe Biden.
"While claiming that no policy proposals would be 'prejudged,' this task force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners—honest, taxpaying, hardworking Americans," the NRA said. "It is unfortunate that this administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation's most pressing problems."
Biden has been leading a task force with the job of coming up with recommendations for battling what President Barack Obama calls an epidemic of gun violence across America. The vice president is due to present his recommendations to Obama on Tuesday after a range of discussions with gun-violence victims groups, law enforcement officials, organizations that represent gun owners, and officials from the entertainment industry. Obama has already pressed Congress to renew the assault weapons ban and take up new restrictions on owning large-capacity magazines—two steps the NRA opposes.
"We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen," the organization said. "Instead, we will now take our commitment and meaningful contributions to members of Congress of both parties who are interested in having an honest conversation about what works—and what does not."
The statement appears to leave open the possibility that the NRA could (maybe) support tighter restrictions to keep guns out of the hands of Americans who already cannot legally own them. But the NRA's description of what it was ready to talk about with Biden did not include gun control.
"We attended today's White House meeting to discuss how to keep our children safe and were prepared to have a meaningful conversation about school safety, mental health issues, the marketing of violence to our kids and the collapse of federal prosecutions of violent criminals," the group said.