Vice President Joe Biden has been working diligently behind the scenes to come up with recommendations for gun reform, and in a move that will make many pro-reformers happy, he's been listening to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The Washington Post reports White house aides have been in "regular contact" with Bloomberg aides since Biden was put in charge of a task-force to come up with reform suggestions for the President in the wake of the Newtown massacre. Bloomberg spoke passionately about the need for gun reform on Meet the Press immediately after Newtown, and the importance of the President addressing it. Since, he's emerged as one of the biggest faces of the gun reform movement. Bloomberg promotes his Demand a Plan initiative regularly on Twitter. He even did a celebrity-backed PSA, featuring Beyonce, no less, on gun reform.
So, what is Biden's package going to look like? From the details provided by the Post, it's going to be pretty comprehensive:
A working group led by Vice President Biden is seriously considering measures backed by key law enforcement leaders that would require universal background checks for firearm buyers, track the movement and sale of weapons through a national database, strengthen mental health checks, and stiffen penalties for carrying guns near schools or giving them to minors, the sources said.
What's even more encouraging is they're thinking of suggestions the Presdient could enact with executive action, avoiding a complicated political battle in Congress and the Senate. Of course, some of the major reform goals will have to pass through the two houses, but small things like, "changes to federal mental-health programs and modernization of gun-tracking efforts by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives," could be changed with a swift flick from the President's pen.
For the bigger, more comprehensive stuff, the President is going to look for support from outside interest groups who have a stake in gun reform, like major, mass retailers -- to fight the NRA head on. In other words, Wal-Mart and their ilk. The President plans to sell his reforms to them on the basis that, should they support the reforms he chooses, they'll make more money:
For instance, this person suggested, Wal-Mart and other major gun retailers may have an incentive to support closing a loophole that allows people to bypass background checks if they purchase firearms at gun shows or through other types of private sales. That could result in more people buying guns in retail stores.