Biden, NRA clash over new gun control proposals

WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite fresh opposition

from the National Rifle Association, the Obama administration is

assembling proposals

to curb gun violence that would include a ban on sales of assault

weapons, limits on high-capacity ammunition magazines and

universal background checks for gun buyers.

Sketching out details of the plan Thursday,

Vice President Joe Biden said he would give President Barack Obama a set

of recommendations

by next Tuesday. The NRA, one of the pro-gun groups that met with

Biden during the day, rejected the effort to limit ammunition

and dug in on its opposition to an assault weapons ban, which

Obama has previously said he will propose to Congress.

"The vice president made it clear, made it explicitly clear, that the president had already made up his mind on those issues,"

NRA president David Keene said following the meeting. "We made it clear that we disagree with them."

Opposition from the well-funded and

politically powerful NRA underscores the challenges that await the White

House if it seeks

congressional approval for limiting guns and ammunition. Obama can

use his executive powers to act alone on some gun measures,

but his options on the proposals opposed by the NRA are limited

without Congress' cooperation.

Obama has pushed reducing gun violence to the top of his domestic agenda following last month's massacre of 20 children and

six adults at a Connecticut elementary school. The president put Biden in charge of an administration-wide task force and

set a late January deadline for proposals.

"I committed to him I'd have these

recommendations to him by Tuesday," Biden said Thursday, during a

separate White House

meeting with sportsmen and wildlife groups. "It doesn't mean it's

the end of the discussion, but the public wants us to act."

The vice president later huddled privately

with the NRA and other gun owner groups for more than 90 minutes.

Participants

in the meeting described it as an open and frank discussion, but

one that yielded little movement from either side on long-held

positions.

Richard Feldman, the president of the

Independent Firearm Owners Association, said all were in agreement on a

need to keep

guns out of the hands of criminals and people with mental health

issues. But when the conversation turned to broad restrictions

on high capacity magazines and assault weapons, Feldman said Biden

suggested the president had already made up his mind to

seek a ban.

"Is there wiggle room and give?" Feldman said. "I don't know."

White House officials said the vice

president didn't expect to win over the NRA and other gun groups on

those key issues.

But the administration was hoping to soften their opposition in

order to rally support from pro-gun lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Biden's proposals are also expected to include recommendations to address mental health care and violence on television and

in movies and video games. Those issues have wide support from gun rights groups and pro-gun lawmakers.

The vice president also met Thursday with representatives from the entertainment industry, including Comcast Corp. and the

Motion Picture Association of America. He'll hold talks Friday with the video game industry.

During his meeting with sporting and

wildlife groups, Biden said that while no recommendations would

eliminate all future

shootings, "there has got to be some common ground, to not solve

every problem but diminish the probability that our children

are at risk in their schools and diminish the probability that

firearms will be used in violent behavior in our society."

As the meetings took place in Washington, a student was shot and wounded at a rural California high school and another student

was taken into custody.

Biden also talked about holes in NICS — the

National Instant Criminal Background Check System — when states don't

relay information

to the database used by dealers to check purchasers. Advocates

blame Congress for not fully funding a law that provides money

to help states send records to the database.

Gun control backers see plenty of room for executive action when it comes to improving background checks and other areas.

For example, advocates say Obama could order

the Justice Department to prosecute more people flagged by background

checks

as prohibited purchasers when they try to buy guns; expand a rule

that requires dealers to notify the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco

Firearms and Explosives when someone tries to buy multiple

semiautomatic rifles, a program now confined to Mexico border states,

and increase enforcement actions at gun shows.

The group Mayors Against Illegal Guns has sent the White House 40 steps it says would save lives and dramatically improve

enforcement of existing laws without any action by Congress.

Several Cabinet members have also taken on

an active role in Biden's gun violence task force, including Attorney

General Eric

Holder. He met Thursday with Wal-Mart, the nation's largest

firearms seller, along with other retailers such as Bass Pro Shops

and Dick's Sporting Goods.

The president hopes to announce his administration's next steps to tackle gun violence shortly after he is sworn in for a

second term. He has pledged to push for new measures in his State of the Union address.