How to tackle gun violence: 5 things liberal groups want
As Vice President Biden has prepared his recommendations on alleviating US gun violence, he has talked to several interested parties. Here is what key liberal advocates are seeking.
Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled Tuesday to give his recommendations to President Obama on how to help alleviate gun violence in the United States.Skip to next paragraph
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While Mr. Obama promised at his press conference on Monday to present the details of Mr. Biden’s recommendations later this week, here are the top five proposals from liberal interest groups (The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Center for American Progress) and lawmakers closely aligned with the White House that shed light on what the Obama administration may push for at the outset of his second term.
1. Universal background checks
This first proposal is one that Democrats believe has widespread support, even among Republican lawmakers: If you buy a gun, no matter who it’s from, you have to pass a background check.
Currently, private sellers make up about 40 percent of weapon transfers in the US every year. What’s known in some places as the “gun show loophole” means that those barred from buying guns by other statutes can effectively circumvent those laws by obtaining a weapon from a private weapons dealer.
“When you’ve got 40 percent of the guns that are going out [not receiving background checks], that’s not a loophole. That’s an exception,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff, said at an event Monday at the liberal Center for American Progress (CAP). “Shutting that exemption... is essential.”
This recommendation requires strong legislative language to require states to contribute information toward national databases used for assessing whether an individual should be allowed to purchase a weapon. At present, 10 states have submitted a grand total of zero names to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and 18 other states have submitted fewer than 100, according to CAP.
2. Restrict the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines
If background checks enjoy the most consensus, what to do about restricting access to assault weapons is perhaps the most controversial.
The Brady Campaign, one of the most outspoken advocates for increased gun control, gives only a single broad sentence to the subject in its policy recommendations: “Limit the availability of military-style weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines that are designed for mass killing.”
But others have been a bit more specific at reviving a policy created under President Bill Clinton but allowed to lapse under President George W. Bush.