Biden vows White House action on gun control

Vice President Biden vowed Wednesday that President Obama will use executive action where he can to help stop gun violence as part of  the White House's response to the mass shootings in Newtown, Conn.

“The president is going to act,” Biden said during brief remarks to reporters before meeting with victims of gun violence and firearm safety groups.

The midday gathering is the first of several meetings Biden will hold this week as his task force works on proposals that it is to present to Obama this month. The president has promised to push forward with a legislative package on gun control and mental health that would require Congressional approval.

Federal legislation on gun violence, such as proposals to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips, would face fierce opposition from gun rights groups such as the National Rifle Association. Biden is scheduled to meet with NRA representatives on Thursday.

"This is a problem that requires immediate attention,” 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."

People who have met with Biden said the task force is considering a wide range of measures to stem gun violence, including requiring mandatory background checks for all gun purchases to establishing a national database to track weapons. The White House also is examining how to strengthen mental health programs and make it more difficult for mentally ill people to get hold of weapons.

Biden did not elaborate on the types of executive actions that Obama is considering.

David Nakamura covers the White House. He has previously covered sports, education and city government and reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Japan.

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